Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Does synthetic dna give life to a dead cell

  1. Jun 9, 2012 #1
    or can synthetic dna give life to a dead cell.

    i.e when scientist removed genetic material of a cell, didn't the cell died. And when this synthetic genome is injected into the nucleus, it survive. Is this what happened.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 11, 2012 #2
    Do you have a specific experiment in mind? If yes could you give a link to the the place where you read about it?

    In general though cell death, whether via apoptosis or necrosis (things like necroptosis have also been suggested for some pathways) is not as simple as just the DNA being degraded. DNA is not the magical life giving material (the alleged Vital Principle) that'll grant life to anything in which it is present; in fact such a vital principle doesn't even exist. When a cell dies, it is no longer able to maintain its state of metabolism; all its components stop working and the state of organization in the cell disintegrates. The mess is usually cleaned up by phagocytes or it may also just lie around, sometimes causing damage to nearby cells as well.
  4. Jun 11, 2012 #3
    cell death means loss of all biochemical functions or are unsustainable. DNA, synthetic or not does little to change the fate of the cell. However , this not take into account organisms such as viruses.
  5. Jun 11, 2012 #4

    I just wanted to know does a cell dies if its genetic material are removed.
  6. Jun 12, 2012 #5
    Yes if you remove the nucleus the cell will eventually die, but putting it back into a dead cell will not bring it back to life.
  7. Jun 12, 2012 #6
    If the cell dies on removing the gentic material, if i understand right, then how is it made possible to alive the cell by replacing with synthetic genome.
  8. Jun 12, 2012 #7
    I only know of two directions for the current research of cellular *renewal*; one is the synthetic approach and the other is -(don't know how to name but it looks like to regrow the tail of a lizard without tail or having its tail cut)-. The latter to me looks more promising, I have watched amazing experiments on Italian TV and reports from known universities of it, so I believe it should be a very competitive field.
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2012
  9. Jun 13, 2012 #8


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor

    Perhaps I'm off the mark here but are you alluding to regenerative medicine?
  10. Jun 17, 2012 #9
    Once the DNA has been reinserted into a new cell they zap it with electricity to make it divide. Frankenstein like. I was looking for why they did this and found this which is very interesting - http://www.sharinghealth.com/pdfs/whyzapwithelectricity.pdf

    I think you are asking at what level does life exist at. Viruses are not considered to be alive as they do not metabolise and can't reproduce without infecting another host cell. There is an acronym for all the things they don't do which are seen as required for cell life. They are not considered dead either as they still operate. Some viruses can fix broken cellular machinery and use it for their own use.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook