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Stanford Scientists Create ''Biological Internet''

By - Source: Stanford University | B 25 comments
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Bioengineers at Stanford University have created a communication network to send commands to and from cells within a biological body.

Monica Ortiz, a doctoral candidate in bioengineering, and Drew Endy, an assistant professor of bioengineering said they succeeded in using the M13 bacteriophage as a carrier of genetic messages to build what they call a "biological Internet".

M13, a non-lethal virus which as the ability to "broadcast" DNA, can be used to pick up arbitrary DNA strands and transport them to certain cells over a distance of up to 7 cm, which is about 79,500 times its own length (880 nm). The researchers said that M13 transports messages in the form of commands, but does not care what the content of the message is. At its destination, M13 releases the command.

"Effectively, we've separated the message from the channel. We can now send any DNA message we want to specific cells within a complex microbial community," said Ortiz, the first author of the study.

According to the research, M13 can be used to create much more complex communication between cells and "include any sort of genetic instruction: start growing, stop growing, come closer, swim away, produce insulin and so forth." The vision is the creation of "biosynthetic factories in which huge masses of microbes collaborate to make more complicated fuels, pharmaceuticals and other useful chemicals." Even the regeneration of tissue and organs may be possible.

 

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  • 29 Hide
    Anonymous , September 30, 2012 10:10 PM
    Apple must be filing the patent as we speak...
  • 19 Hide
    Shin-san , September 30, 2012 10:33 PM
    How long before a zombie breakout?
  • 18 Hide
    A Bad Day , September 30, 2012 10:35 PM
    For Science!

    Flinstone2300076Apple must be filing the patent as we speak...


    When Apple plans on expanding outside of their computer tech sphere, it means they're going to troll even harder.
Other Comments
  • 29 Hide
    Anonymous , September 30, 2012 10:10 PM
    Apple must be filing the patent as we speak...
  • 19 Hide
    Shin-san , September 30, 2012 10:33 PM
    How long before a zombie breakout?
  • 18 Hide
    A Bad Day , September 30, 2012 10:35 PM
    For Science!

    Flinstone2300076Apple must be filing the patent as we speak...


    When Apple plans on expanding outside of their computer tech sphere, it means they're going to troll even harder.
  • -2 Hide
    echondo , September 30, 2012 11:18 PM
    I had a hunch that the name, Monica Ortiz, was a pretty name for a woman.

    And she is a pretty woman!

  • -6 Hide
    gerchokas , September 30, 2012 11:26 PM
    Broadcasting DNA over 7 cm lenghts?? For internet? Thats sounds like finding a way to make cancer deliberately infectious. Never mind when people grow a wikipedia on their foot
  • 2 Hide
    rolled , September 30, 2012 11:42 PM
    Why list the PHD candidate prior to the PI's name? Pretty sure that's not how you do things...?
  • 7 Hide
    ikyung , September 30, 2012 11:46 PM
    Wow sending genetic instructions to single cells to tell them to grow or stop growing? Man made evolution doesn't seem so far away.
  • 5 Hide
    aoneone , October 1, 2012 12:35 AM
    Does this mean we can now live forever? ^_^
  • 2 Hide
    dvo , October 1, 2012 12:37 AM
    so does this mean we are a step closer to the Bio-Neural Circuitry Gel Packs of Star Trek Voyager? lol.
  • 7 Hide
    tolham , October 1, 2012 12:45 AM
    ---M13 can be used to create much more complex communication between cells and "include any sort of genetic instruction: start growing, stop growing, come closer, swim away, produce insulin and so forth."


    any chance of "burn belly fat" or "tone muscles"?
  • 1 Hide
    kryzzay , October 1, 2012 1:11 AM
    Deus Ex!!!
  • 2 Hide
    Anonymous , October 1, 2012 1:20 AM
    that would not be a genetic instruction, that would be your brain telling your ass to get off the computer and go jogging ;) 
  • -4 Hide
    memadmax , October 1, 2012 1:20 AM
    This is bad. I don't like this one bit.
  • 0 Hide
    A Bad Day , October 1, 2012 1:32 AM
    tolham---M13 can be used to create much more complex communication between cells and "include any sort of genetic instruction: start growing, stop growing, come closer, swim away, produce insulin and so forth."any chance of "burn belly fat" or "tone muscles"?


    Or "Set stress hormone and adrenaline to infinite production to induce heart attack and stroke"?
  • 4 Hide
    f-14 , October 1, 2012 2:49 AM
    i think my biological internet just exploded in my shorts after reading this, must have been the stuxnet virus delivering it's 'payload'

    is there anti virus for this?
  • 0 Hide
    A Bad Day , October 1, 2012 3:45 AM
    f-14i think my biological internet just exploded in my shorts after reading this, must have been the stuxnet virus delivering it's 'payload'is there anti virus for this?


    Your immune system. On a second thought, HIV would be quite nasty if weaponized. Bye bye to anti-virus.
  • -1 Hide
    Anonymous , October 1, 2012 4:27 AM
    Did anyone else immediately think of Greg Bear's "Blood Music?"
  • -2 Hide
    acadia11 , October 1, 2012 5:17 AM
    Wasn't this in that movie with the blue people?
  • 0 Hide
    therabiddeer , October 1, 2012 7:03 AM
    "include any sort of genetic instruction: start growing, stop growing, come closer, swim away, produce insulin and so forth."

    Produce insulin? As a diabetic, that sounds huge to me.
  • -1 Hide
    cats_Paw , October 1, 2012 9:36 AM
    HOLY ... now i can really "be connected" to the internet? Keep it coming!
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