Previous in Forum: Blood   Next in Forum: Frankenstein
Close
Close
Close
10 comments
Guru
Hobbies - CNC - New Member Popular Science - Biology - New Member Hobbies - Musician - New Member

Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Canada
Posts: 3499
Good Answers: 144

Genetic Hijacking Termed "Creating Life"

05/20/2010 5:30 PM

Once again, the press are running "life creation" claims on genetic research that hijacks a living cell to run their own DNA code. True, they have managed to run a completely synthetic genome and make it self-replicating, using the "life" of another organism to do so. Story here.

I don't think I'm splitting hairs here when I say that this couldn't be done without the living bacterium whose DNA was replaced with the synthetic code.

Am I right to be annoyed when I hear claims that "life is created in a lab" when afaict this is just another "hijacking"? When it comes to human 'creation of life' .. I'm still waiting.

__________________
incus opella
Register to Reply
Interested in this topic? By joining CR4 you can "subscribe" to
this discussion and receive notification when new comments are added.

Comments rated to be Good Answers:

These comments received enough positive ratings to make them "good answers".
Guru
Hobbies - CNC - New Member Popular Science - Biology - New Member Hobbies - Musician - New Member

Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Canada
Posts: 3499
Good Answers: 144
#1

Re: Genetic Hijacking Termed "Creating Life"

05/20/2010 7:09 PM

I'd just like to add a question to think about - what's the real significance of this step for the science and engineering? The GMO bacterium is self-replicating. The DNA is physically made by man. Now this is the interesting part. How does this fit into the industry and other technical developments recently?

For example, the 3D printing process applied to tissues and organs (from news posted at CR4 home) is a life-changing technology, not only for persons in need but also for the human slaves of transnational criminal organizations in our day and age. This is a technology to change human society for the better, big time.

If Venter's technology is applicable to this aspect of industry then bring it on.

I would like to see a proper description of the possible applications of the technology.

__________________
incus opella
Register to Reply Score 1 for Off Topic
3
Guru

Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Israel
Posts: 2923
Good Answers: 24
#3
In reply to #1

Re: Genetic Hijacking Termed "Creating Life"

05/20/2010 7:58 PM

There is an on-going attempt to control cell manipulating to a degree which would allow the experimenters present some high-profile claims all over the news, for the purpose of generating research funds.

In many cases (if not most), these claims are carefully crafted for the uninformed ear, which mass media nurture so eagerly.

Just look at the headlines associated with genetic manipulation and bio-engineering attempt over the last decade, and see for yourself...

Register to Reply Good Answer (Score 3)
Guru
Hobbies - Musician - Engineering Fields - Chemical Engineering - New Member Engineering Fields - Control Engineering - New Member Engineering Fields - Instrumentation Engineering - New Member

Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Moses Lake, WA, USA, Thulcandra - The Silent Planet (C.S. Lewis)
Posts: 4216
Good Answers: 194
#2

Re: Genetic Hijacking Termed "Creating Life"

05/20/2010 7:54 PM

The whole thing is just sensationalism. This is not synthetic life, but merely replacing the DNA of existing cells. I think your hijacking term is quite apt.

Given the extreme complexity of a cell, including the plethora of structures and chemical communication going on between them, I believe we will never get to the point of making cells from "scratch".

__________________
"Reason is not automatic. Those who deny it cannot be conquered by it. Do not count on them. Leave them alone." - Ayn Rand
Register to Reply
Guru
Hobbies - CNC - New Member Popular Science - Biology - New Member Hobbies - Musician - New Member

Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Canada
Posts: 3499
Good Answers: 144
#4
In reply to #2

Re: Genetic Hijacking Termed "Creating Life"

05/20/2010 8:06 PM

.... a Western hijacking?...

__________________
incus opella
Register to Reply Off Topic (Score 5)
Guru
Panama - Member - New Member Hobbies - CNC - New Member Engineering Fields - Marine Engineering - New Member Engineering Fields - Retired Engineers / Mentors - New Member

Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Panama
Posts: 4274
Good Answers: 213
#5

Re: Genetic Hijacking Termed "Creating Life"

05/21/2010 10:30 PM

"Hijacking" is an appropriate term, and pretty much applies to the genetic engineering field as a whole (including the various successful cloning experiments- which still rely on viable egg cells and a real womb). I do not wish to create the impression that I consider Vintner's work unimportant- it is a tremendous step forward to understanding life mechanisms. But it is not "artificial life".

What are the near-term commercial potentials for this? The most likely outcome is a new rash of disaster movies based on "artificial life gone amok". That's where the real money will be...

Register to Reply
Guru
Panama - Member - New Member Hobbies - CNC - New Member Engineering Fields - Marine Engineering - New Member Engineering Fields - Retired Engineers / Mentors - New Member

Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Panama
Posts: 4274
Good Answers: 213
#6

Re: Genetic Hijacking Termed "Creating Life"

05/21/2010 10:40 PM

If one reads the details of the Vintner work, one also discovers it would be more appropriate to label the actual DNA as "man assembled" rather than "man made". The DNA was assembled from various segments of DNA previously derived from living organisms and artificially copied. Not built from scratch...

Register to Reply
Commentator

Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Circe,9 Majadahonda 28220. SPAIN
Posts: 94
Good Answers: 2
#7

Re: Genetic Hijacking Termed "Creating Life"

05/22/2010 7:35 AM

VenterĀ“s work is important, but it is not a new live being obtained from inert materials.

Nevertheless, I believe that man will "create" life, when he learns to manage the matter and the energy in the right way.

This is not against any religious belief.

Arturo

__________________
QUIMERA
Register to Reply
Guru

Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Israel
Posts: 2923
Good Answers: 24
#8
In reply to #7

Re: Genetic Hijacking Termed "Creating Life"

05/22/2010 10:22 AM

What it actually is, and this should not be underestimated, a method, or a biochemical mechanism, to serve as a kind of a "Cell-Printer".

It's basically a blank replication vehicle for pre-assembled DNA sequences.

Life it is not, but it is not something to be overlooked. It is a serious matter, with great promise and danger.

Register to Reply
Guru
Hobbies - CNC - New Member Popular Science - Biology - New Member Hobbies - Musician - New Member

Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Canada
Posts: 3499
Good Answers: 144
#9
In reply to #8

Re: Genetic Hijacking Termed "Creating Life"

05/22/2010 11:49 AM

That is my thought more or less - on the up side, if the process can be used for eukaryotic cells then it could be applicable for tissue and organ regeneration and/or "printing" replacement organs. Also for "gene therapies" where a defective gene is causing illness. Although it does not seem necessary for these applications...

The work should have been billed as "synthetic genome" not "synthetic life" - changes to the DNA such as encoding your name (or patent number) do not really constitute genetic design either. However I suspect that is the real point of it - to make a life form patentable.

I would like to know whether the "synthetic" bacterium also has a normal rate of mutation. If not, then this would constitute a potential "danger" in loss of diversity. But I think it is more likely that the bacterium would mutate at an ordinary rate (at least), and if so, raises the question, whether the non-exact "replications" would also be subject to patent. I foresee a truckload of money going to lawyers on this one.

Of course it might be that the organism has an unusually high mutation rate - again, a potential danger in the natural environment (with the trivial compensation that an encoded "proper name" could be mutated to read "greedy ass". )

__________________
incus opella
Register to Reply
Guru

Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Israel
Posts: 2923
Good Answers: 24
#10
In reply to #9

Re: Genetic Hijacking Termed "Creating Life"

05/22/2010 12:30 PM

It would make sense that both synthetic and natural would be subject to about the same rates of mutation. In general, mutation appears to be the marginal "background-noise" associated with the natural system of replication and repair, which bio-engineering takes advantage of.

As to the patent registration of beneficial mutant strains, it is a kind of catch-22 type situation. Once you apply to register a mutant as your property, you must find a way to protect this mutant from further mutation, in future generations of your registered version... - where would it end ? You cannot predict where the next mutation appear, and you cannot register further, successive mutations of that given strain, having their unknown genotype and phenotype traits...

Besides, I personally think that the legislative status regarding genetics is prone to dissolve and become more like the "Open-Code" is in software, in the next coming years - mainly due to the factors stated above.

You cannot really patent the mere re-arrangement of naturally occurring bio-process. It's simply not stable and predictable enough to be practical.

Today we know, that even the definition of a "Gene" and it eventual phenotypes, are not very rigid. Is it defined at the basic "Cistron" stage, is it defined at the protein synthesis stage, at the control-gene stage, or is it defined at higher and more intricate hierarchies ?

Register to Reply
Register to Reply 10 comments
Interested in this topic? By joining CR4 you can "subscribe" to
this discussion and receive notification when new comments are added.

Comments rated to be Good Answers:

These comments received enough positive ratings to make them "good answers".
Copy to Clipboard

Users who posted comments:

artsmith (3); ARTURO (1); cwarner7_11 (2); Mikerho (1); Yuval (3)

Previous in Forum: Blood   Next in Forum: Frankenstein

Advertisement