Scientists 'Boot Up' a Bacterial Cell With a Synthetic Genome
ScienceDaily (May 20, 2010) — Scientists have developed the first cell controlled by a synthetic genome. They now hope to use this method to probe the basic machinery of life and to engineer bacteria specially designed to solve environmental or energy problems.
"This is the first synthetic cell that's been made, and we call it synthetic because the cell is totally derived from a synthetic chromosome, made with four bottles of chemicals on a chemical synthesizer, starting with information in a computer," said Venter.
"This becomes a very powerful tool for trying to design what we want biology to do. We have a wide range of applications [in mind]," he said.
Sounds really neat!
Reference: D. G. Gibson et al "Creation of a Bacterial Cell Controlled by a Chemically Synthesized Genome" Science, May 20, 2010 (DOI: 10.1126/science.1190719)
We report the design, synthesis, and assembly of the 1.08-Mbp Mycoplasma mycoides JCVI-syn1.0 genome starting from digitized genome sequence information and its transplantation into a Mycoplasma capricolum recipient cell to create new Mycoplasma mycoides cells that are controlled only by the synthetic chromosome. The only DNA in the cells is the designed synthetic DNA sequence, including "watermark" sequences and other designed gene deletions and polymorphisms, and mutations acquired during the building process. The new cells have expected phenotypic properties and are capable of continuous self-replication.
See also: http://www.jcvi.org/cms/research/projects/first-self-replicating-synthetic-bacterial-cell/overview/