Scientists messing with God's design again

Círeth

Well-Known Member
Extra letters added to life's genetic code

Scientists have created bacteria that thrive using an expanded "genetic alphabet".

The blueprint for all life forms on Earth is written in a code consisting of four "letters": A, T, C and G, which pair up in the DNA double helix.

But the lab organism has been modified to use an additional two, giving it a genetic code of six letters.

Researchers hope the work could lead to bugs that can help manufacture new classes of drugs to treat disease.

The team from the US, China and France have published their work in PNAS journal.

Previous research had shown that an "unnatural base pair" (UBP), consisting of two synthetic letters called X and Y, could be incorporated into the DNA of Escherichia coli bacteria.

But the resulting bugs grew slowly, and the UBP was expunged after several rounds of cell division.

Now, Prof Floyd Romesberg, from The Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California, and colleagues, have shown that their single-celled organism can hold on indefinitely to the synthetic base pair as it divides.

"We've made this semisynthetic organism more life-like," said Prof Romesberg, senior author of the new study.

"Your genome isn't just stable for a day," said Prof Romesberg. "Your genome has to be stable for the scale of your lifetime. If the semisynthetic organism is going to really be an organism, it has to be able to stably maintain that information."

Key to the advance was a modification to a molecular transporter, which helps the E. coli bugs import the UBP.

Next, the researchers optimised their previous version of Y so that it could be better recognised by the enzymes that synthesise DNA molecules during replication.

Finally, the researchers set up a "spell check" system for the organism using the CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing tool.

They were able to take advantage of the tool to ensure that any cells that dropped X and Y would be marked for destruction by the organism.

Their semisynthetic organism was thus able to keep X and Y in its genome after dividing 60 times, leading the researchers to believe it can hold on to the base pair indefinitely.

"We can now get the light of life to stay on," said Prof Romesberg.

"That suggests that all of life's processes can be subject to manipulation."

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-38737693

This is scary.
 

Círeth

Well-Known Member
Your side note made me giggle because I used to do the same. This is not the same. That was innocent fun.

They are playing with the building blocks of life itself and trying to be better than God. Yes their hubris offends me greatly. I also think it's the precursor to bigger more dangerous experiments that why it frightens me. I think that they are fools who think themselves wise. Fools like that are dangerous.

Question about the bacteria. If the so called "super bacteria" are actually inferior and killed off by the normal bacteria, could we cure antibiotic resistant strains by giving a dose of the normal bacteria and then antibiotics? I might be barking up the wrong tree here, it might well be too dangerous, but it's an idea.
 

Círeth

Well-Known Member
The normal bacteria make us sick, too -- at least the kind we are talking about. But you have an idea there -- you know how vaccines are often made of live, weakened viruses and such? I wonder if they could weaken the normal bacteria. Oh, but then they wouldn't be stronger than the mutants....

It's a problem.

But to let you know, scientists have been playing around with the building blocks of life for a very long time, actually. That is how they figured out the genes aren't responsible for everything the way they thought they were. But please don't worry, and don't let the popular press get you worried. God has put some pretty strong walls around our biologic designs. What the scientists are doing, for the most part, is a giant waste of time and money. But that being said, every once in awhile something incredible pops up -- like penicillin did. What usually happens, though, is that what is discovered was not made by man, but was there all along -- like the mold that penicillin comes from. But once in awhile a Jonas Salk stumbles on something that really is a lifesaver. So let them have their fun -- I just wish our tax dollars didn't have to pay for so much of it!
I thought it might well be too dangerous. I don't think a weakened strain could kill off the resistant strain. It would have to be at normal strength and at normal strength it might kill the patient, after killing off the resistant strain, before the antibiotics could kill it.
 

Sherwood

Well-Known Member
Your side note made me giggle because I used to do the same. This is not the same. That was innocent fun.

They are playing with the building blocks of life itself and trying to be better than God. Yes their hubris offends me greatly. I also think it's the precursor to bigger more dangerous experiments that why it frightens me. I think that they are fools who think themselves wise. Fools like that are dangerous.

Question about the bacteria. If the so called "super bacteria" are actually inferior and killed off by the normal bacteria, could we cure antibiotic resistant strains by giving a dose of the normal bacteria and then antibiotics? I might be barking up the wrong tree here, it might well be too dangerous, but it's an idea.
We can't forget that we live in a fallen world, corrupted world. Nothing is perfect the way God originally designed the creation, and until the restoration of all things as Jesus promised there will always be imperfections in the creation as we live in it now. I wouldn't worry about mankind "doing better" than what God can as some would see it from appearance because we all know God can do infinitely better and we will see this in His Kingdom. That's how I see it.
 
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