Synthetic Biology: New Era of Programmable Cells

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Synthetic Biology
New era of programmable Acells

Under supervision of Dr.Hanaa El Badawy
By; Manar hesham fouad 70019 Ahmed Ibrahim agami 60015 Yassmin Mohamed moatassim 70187 Ahmed osman Shymaa khaled

As a result of the fast ,cheap DNA sequencing and synthesis with parallel developments in the field of bioinformatics, the emergence of a new discipline known as synthetic biology or synethesia has taken place, by the efforts of J.Craig Venter the genomics pioneer and his team, that is an innovative and highly promising blend of science and engineering aim either to improve understanding of biological systems, their complexity and the interaction of complex pathways, or to use the organisms as factories for obtaining specific products, that eventually can lead to the next industrial revolution. It is hard to provide an accurate definition of a new emerging scientific discipline like synthetic biology, it can be changed over time as awareness increases. It can be defined simply as " The design and construction of new biological parts, devices and systems that do not exist in the natural world and also the redesign of existing biological systems to perform specific tasks (Erosion, Technology and Concentration (ETC) Group, Canada). Note that; a chemical system that cannot autonomously reproduce itself is not considered as artificial cell, as for example, the artificial red blood cells.

The whole process can be simply summarized in 3 steps;


Decoding the chromosome of an existing bacterial cell took place using a computer for reading each of the letters of genetic code. 2) Copying this code and the chemically construction of a new synthetic chromosome, by piecing blocks of DNA together. 3) Transplantation or insertion of this chromosome into a bacterial cell that can then replicated itself.

With more deep insight; After achieving success in the synthesis of the minimal set of genome content for Mycoplasma genitalium that is needed to sustain its life, the team had to switch to other faster growing and previously sequenced Mycoplasma mycoides as a donor and Mycoplasma capricolum as a recipient and started working on the creation of a M.mycoides strain from a genome that had been cloned and engineered in a yeast model system.

The natural genome was differentiated from the synthetic one by using watermark sequences that made use of the alphabet of genes and proteins thus enabling the researchers to spell out words and phrases. Thus it is obvious that, we had the first self replicating species on the planet whose parent is computer (craig Venter,2010) Finally ,the bacterial cells with the transplanted genome can be viewed as a blue colony selected on SP4 medium containing tetracycline and X-gal.

And since the genome is considered to be the software while the cytoplasm is the hardware ,thus the cells of the colony was found to manufacture the proteins characteristic of M. mycoides instead of M. capricolum. Types of synthetic biology There are 3 areas of research that are connected and interrelated. 1] DNA-based device construction with the objective of developing biological components that are functionally discrete , capable of being easily combined in a modular fashion,in other words it results finally in the creation of standardized biological parts, devices and systems, called „BioBricks‟. 2] Genome-driven cell engineering that focuses on whole genomes. This involves both „top down’ attempts to strip excess DNA away from existing genomes to produce organisms with the minimal genome content , as well as „bottom up’ aiming to construct genomes from scratch, including the synthesis of viral genomes such as the polio virus and the φX174 phage.

3] Protocell creation this approach is more interested in trying to recreate living cells through the insertion of molecular components that can either be synthesized from scratch, or already existing genes and enzymes, into lipid...
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