A  A  A   Print
Scientists Rewrite Germ's Genetic Code

Scientists Rewrite Germ's Genetic Code

THURSDAY, Oct. 17 (HealthDay News) -- Scientists have shown that it is possible to rewrite the genome of an organism, and boost its ability to fight off viruses, thereby demonstrating the potential benefits of remaking an organism's genetic structure, the researchers say.

"This is the first time the genetic code has been fundamentally changed," study co-author Farren Isaacs, an assistant professor of molecular, cellular and developmental biology at Yale University, said in a university news release. "Creating an organism with a new genetic code has allowed us to expand the scope of biological function in a number of powerful ways."

In the new study, Isaacs and colleagues at Harvard and Yale made substitutions in the genetic alphabet of an E. coli bacterium in order to make it produce fewer proteins that are vulnerable to viruses.

The researchers hope the ability to recode an organism's genome could be used in biomanufacturing to create a new generation of proteins and polymers. These could potentially aid the development of new types of materials and new ways to combat disease.

"Since the genetic code is universal, it raises the prospect of recoding genomes of other organisms," Isaacs said in the news release. "This has tremendous implications in the biotechnology industry and could open entirely new avenues of research and applications."

The study is published in the Oct. 18 issue of the journal Science.

More information

For more about genetics, visit the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

SOURCE: Yale University, news release, Oct. 18, 2013

Today's Interactive Tools

The third-party content provided in the Health Library of phoebeputney.com is for informational purposes only and is not designed to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease, or replace the professional medical advice you receive from your physician. If you or your child has or suspect you may have a health problem, please consult your primary care physician. If you or your child may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 or other emergency health care provider immediately in the United States or the appropriate health agency of your country. For more information regarding site usage, please visit: Privacy Information, Terms of Use or Disclaimer.

Follow us online:

© 2014 Phoebe Putney Health System  |  417 Third Avenue, Albany, Georgia 31701  |  Telephone 877.312.1167

Phoebe Putney Health System is a network of hospitals, family medicine clinics, rehab facilities, auxiliary services, and medical education training facilities. Founded in 1911,
Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital (the flagship hospital) is one of Georgia's largest comprehensive regional medical centers. From the beginning, Phoebe's mission and vision
has been to bring the finest medical talent and technology to the citizens of Southwest Georgia, and to serve all citizens of the community regardless of ability to pay.