My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: Washington University designing a standard Method to make GMO DNA and mRNA for synthesizing Chemicals

Friday, October 4, 2013

Washington University designing a standard Method to make GMO DNA and mRNA for synthesizing Chemicals

“We start from an abstract, mathematical description of a Chemical system, and then use DNA to build the molecules that realize the desired dynamics. The vision is that eventually you can use this technology to build general-purpose tools”

Comments from Research author Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Engineering, Dr. Georg Seelig, on the Washington University website

Researchers at the University of Washington are working on designing DNA (Deoxy Ribonucleic Acid) to create synthetic drug and other materials as explained in “Engineers write programming language to help build synthetic DNA”, published September 30, 2013 2:26 PM PDT by Elizabeth Armstrong Moore, CNET News. Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Engineering, Dr. Georg Seelig work in partnership with Washington University Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering Eric Klavins

Co-authors of the paper are:

1.                  Yuan-Jyue Chen, a UW doctoral student in electrical engineering
2.                  David Soloveichik of the University of California, San Francisco
3.                  Niranjan Srinivas at the California Institute of Technology
4.                  Neil Dalchau of Microsoft Research.
5.                  Andrew Phillips of Microsoft Research.
6.                  Luca Cardelli of Microsoft Research.

The Researchers at the University of Washington has received a US$2 million grant from the National Science Foundation to pursue what is effectively the development of a standard system to synthesize DNA and mRNA that can be used to make artificial Chemical compounds on demand. 

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Their research grant received the full Press coverage in the article “UW engineers invent programming language to build synthetic DNA”, published September 30, 2013 by Michelle Ma, Washington University. Their published paper can be viewed in the journal Nature Nanotechnology!

Designer DNA - how will their Chemical Synthesizer thingamabob work  

First, they’ll have to initially getting the Chemical Equations for whatever Chemical compound you wish to synthesize and interpret the mathematical variables representing the Chemical Process into a computer program for their system. They would then design apparatus to build the mRNA or DNA from scratch using Bacteria to synthesize the mRNA or DNA.

The mRNA or DNA would then be designed via this system, most likely using a re-engineered Bacteria whose Nucleus is GM (Genetically Modified) via Chemical means to produce the mRNA or DNA required. It is then extracted from the Bacteria’s Nucleus and is then packaged into a Delivery system, preferably Bacteriophages as explained in my blog article entitled “Bacteriophage Therapy from former USSR State Georgia is a potential treatment against Super-bug Bacteria - Hansel and Gretel Witch Hunters Panacea to eradicate Bacterial infections”.

The DNA or in this case mRNA that now in the GMO Bacteriophages are then used to infect  other GMO (Genetically Modified Organisms) such as Escherichia Coli Bacteria. But instead of bursting forth with more copies of Bacteriophages, the GMO E. Coli is reprogrammed to use the mRNA to synthesize whatever chemicals they desire to make.

Via this mixture of Biochemistry and Genetic Engineering, the University of Washington is trying to make a Standard Process to make designer Organic Chemical compounds first in a Laboratory setting and then later to be scaled up to an Industrial System. This concept is expressed in the idea of programming language for Chemical Reactions, which is what the Research Team is trying to develop, quote: “I think this is appealing because it allows you to solve more than one problem. If you want a computer to do something else, you just reprogram it. This project is very similar in that we can tell chemistry what to do”

Standard DNA Replicator – Biochemistry and Genetic Engineering meets Process Engineering

This technique could be used by the team of Researchers from the University of Georgia’s Bioenergy Systems Research Institute to bio-engineer a bacterium, Pyrococcusfuriosus to produce other Chemical compounds from Carbon Dioxide (CO2) to make products such as Diesel and Gasoline and even Kerosene.

This effectively closes the Krebb Cycle synthetically by skipping trees and making Biofuel directly as argued in my blog article entitled Pyrococcusfuriosus Bacterium Bio-engineered by University of Georgia’s to convert Carbon Dioxide to Bio-fuel - Carbon sequestering profitable  Hunger Games Catching Fire”. Global Warming would be a thing of the past, as we could now directly sequester Carbon Dioxide (CO2) and other harmful chemicals and use this standard process to synthesize whatever industrial Chemical we need

This is a boon for Process Engineering, as it means the same Process can be reset to make different drugs on demand instead of having separate Process lines in a factory to produce certain products.  In the future, making any drug at a nanoscopic level will be as simple as telling a computer program what kind of drug you want in terms of properties and DNA or mRNA are designed from scratch to synthesize it.

If the researchers at the University of Washington succeed, they’ll make this a Process Engineering standard that combines elements of Genetic Engineering and Biochemistry to synthesize any Chemical that’s Organic in nature from scratch. 

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