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Stanford Scientists Create ''Biological Internet''

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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  • Apple must be filing the patent as we speak...
    Reply
  • Shin-san
    How long before a zombie breakout?
    Reply
  • A Bad Day
    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.
    Reply
  • echondo
    I had a hunch that the name, Monica Ortiz, was a pretty name for a woman.

    And she is a pretty woman!

    Reply
  • gerchokas
    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
    Reply
  • rolled
    Why list the PHD candidate prior to the PI's name? Pretty sure that's not how you do things...?
    Reply
  • ikyung
    Wow sending genetic instructions to single cells to tell them to grow or stop growing? Man made evolution doesn't seem so far away.
    Reply
  • aoneone
    Does this mean we can now live forever? ^_^
    Reply
  • dvo
    so does this mean we are a step closer to the Bio-Neural Circuitry Gel Packs of Star Trek Voyager? lol.
    Reply
  • 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"?
    Reply