We now can write the script for the next generation of vaccines
A scientific breakthrough with the potential to revolutionise a huge range of life sciences, and lead to personalised medicines, will be unveiled at an international conference at Sydney’s Macquarie University next week.
Scientists from the US, Britain, Singapore, China and Australia will say they have successfully synthesised all 16 chromosomes in the complex yeast cell, allowing for the genetic blueprint of cells.
“The impact will be immense. It will be like the first time we had access to the internet. It’s that big. It’s absolutely a world-changer,” Macquarie University deputy vice-chancellor, research, Sakkie Pretorius said.
“This will lead to personalised medicines. It will lead to gene therapies. We can now write the script for the next generation of vaccines. We can write the DNA script and produce antibiotics that never existed in nature or in laboratories before. Yeast cells that become semi-synthetic cell factories can produce whatever you want from biodegradable pesticides to bioenergy molecules.”
By agreement among all scientists involved, the “synthetic biology” research received no commercial funding, and the technology will remain open source to ensure there will be no infighting or decisions swayed by commercial considerations.
“It is very important for us to work globally together,” Professor Pretorius said.
“It’s much safer if you work across the boundaries of disciplines, but also across the boundaries of nations.”
The “syn-bio” development was such new technology, he said, that not every academic institution would understand what the breakthrough meant for them.
He said former British science minister David Willett had described it as a “technology that can feed us, fuel us and heal us”, and he would add to that list “a technology that can also protect the environment … if we can come up with a semi-synthetic cell that can produce biodegradable pesticides to replace chemicals in agriculture, if we can come up with a product that can degrade plastics, we can clean up the environment.”
Source & Credit @ The Australian.