UCSD Researchers Program Living Cells to Sync- 01.20.10
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Wow. Reading PopSci this morning, mesmerized by this video from my alma mater, UCSD about how “Bacteria Transformed Into Living, Blinking Clocks Could Provide Preciseley Timed Drug Delivery”. Apparently UCSD researchers have used E. coli to synchronize blinking “genetic clocks” - “Programming living cells is one defining goal of the new field of synthetic biology,” said Jeff Hasty, associate professor of biology and bioengineering at UCSD who headed the research team with Lev Tsimring, associate director of UCSD’s BioCircuits Institute. The video on the next page visually demonstrates their research by showing bacteria reading for the gene of a flourescent dye ~ and it looks much like a wave propagating through the bacterial colony. PopSci proposes the scenario… “swap out the dye gene for one that makes drugs, and all of a sudden you get a yogurt that releases exact medication dosages from within one’s own body based on real time feedback.” Can you imagine the possibilities of where this could lead? Or as the research develops further, what complex systems you could “program” in to these living cells? Which could further develop into living organisms and more complex beings? Take a peek at the video on the next page! (Beyond scientifically fascinating, its beautiful too!)