Programing Bacteria

Posted on November 4, 2006  Comments (2)

Duke Packard Fellow to Examine Processing Speed of “Reprogrammed” Bacteria:

research into the development of synthetic gene circuits, carefully designed combinations of genes that can be “loaded” into bacteria or other cells, directing their activity in much the same way that a basic computer program directs a computer. Such re-programmed bacteria might eventually serve in a wide variety of applications, including biocomputing, medical treatments, and environmental cleanup

The research now, however, is in its very early stages, You said. So far, E. coli bacteria have been programmed to grow in numbers until a certain population size is reached. The bacteria then kill themselves off, growing again only after their numbers dwindle sufficiently.

The relatively simple program takes advantage of bacteria’s ability to communicate with one another, a process known as “quorum sensing,” and essential genetic pathways that control cell death.

Related: 2006 Packard Fellowships in Science and Engineering Awarded to 20 Young ResearchersDr. Lingchong YouDuke Engineer Designing ‘Gene Circuits’ that Control Cell Populations with Killer GenesSick spinach: Meet the killer E coli

2 Responses to “Programing Bacteria”

  1. Curious Cat Science and Engineering Blog » Micro-robots to ’swim’ Through Veins
    December 12th, 2006 @ 7:32 pm

    […] “icro-robots that can ’swim’ through the vascular and digestive systems of the human body to perform medical tasks via remote control and, in many cases, avoid invasive major surgery, are being developed” […]

  2. CuriousCat » Amazing Designs of Life
    April 19th, 2008 @ 9:04 am

    “About 95 percent of the rewired bacteria did just fine with their new networks. They went on with their lives, feeding, growing and dividing…”

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