Breakthrough: Harvard scientist on path to create new proteins

Renowned Harvard geneticist George Church has led a team effort to create the first synthetic ribosome, a key step in synthesizing new proteins. While much of the press response has focused on the big step this breakthrough marks in the quest toward creating artificial life, Church is squarely focused on a more immediate application: creating unique new therapeutic proteins.

Their work has created "unprecedented power to evolve ribosomes to produce unique proteins for compelling applications," says researcher Michael Jewett, adding that the discovery could lead to new vaccines and drugs.

"The idea of being able to make new polymers, maybe one day making a mirror-image cell, which is resistant to almost all viruses and enzymes, would be of industrial and philosophical significance," Church noted.

- read the report in the Harvard Crimson