New cell tech turns bacteria into biotech factories

In an advancement which could have profound consequences for labs engaged in cell engineering, a research team working in the lab of Harvard Professor George Church has created a new cell programming method dubbed Multiplex Automated Genome Engineering that gave them the ability to simultaneously 'edit' multiple genes. And in an experiment, they transformed E. coli cells into factories that produced an antioxidant. 

"We initiated the project to close the gap between DNA sequencing technology and cell programming technology," graduate student Harris Wang tells Medical News Today.

"We decided to engineer in the context of biology, embracing evolution rather than trying to fit a square peg in a round hole," says Church. "This automated, multiplex technology will allow labs to engineer entire pathways and genomes and take cell programming to a whole new level."

"The goal was to use information gleaned from genetics and genomics to rapidly engineer new functions and improve existing functions in cells," said postdoctoral researcher Farren Isaacs. "We wanted to develop a new tool and demonstrate how to apply it; we were determined to hand labs a hammer and a nail."

- read the story from Medical News Today

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