Blogging the biotechnology revolution

Systems Biology is changing the way biology is done. Is it a fad or is it effective? This blog tracks current happenings and helps you stay on top of the field. You can find a list of relevant papers at systems biology paper watch Have you heard a talk or read a paper in bioinformatics / systems biology you would like to tell other people about? Email: and get the word out!

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

J. Craig Venter, J. Craig Venter Institute
"From Reading to Writing the Genetic Code"

Talked about the Sargasso gene sequencing in the beginning. So many sequences make genbank look small in comparison!

Trying to design the minimal cell based on mycoplasma genitalium (smallest genome).
Got so far as to reconstruct viruses, using plasmid-based cassette synthesis. The paper was in PNAS.

But to get bigger synthesis they need new technology. Inspiration comes from Deinococcus radiodurans ("Conan the Bacterium"), which can undergo massive amounts of radiation and still live. Basically, the genome is blown to bits from the radiation, but an amazing homologous recombination reassembles the genome. They are trying to use this type of approach to synthesize genomes from short fragments and assemble them using the same mechanisms. It's really an interesting method that I hope works. Has anyone seen any work done so far on this?


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