The Genetic Engineering Thread

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The Genetic Engineering Thread

Postby Anaxagoras » Sun Dec 31, 2017 8:08 am

I think we're about to enter a new era. Sort of like the Internet and smart phones and Google ushered in a new era in the 90s and aughts, we are about to enter a new era of genetic engineering. I don't know exactly what it will all lead to, but I think think the world won't be the same.

Genetically Engineering Pigs to Grow Organs for People

Scientists announce the birth of 37 pigs gene-edited to be better for human transplant.

The idea of transplanting organs from pigs into humans has been around for a long time. And for a long time, xenotransplants—or putting organs from one species into another—has come up against two seemingly insurmountable problems.

The first problem is fairly intuitive: Pig organs provoke a massive and destructive immune response in humans—far more so than an organ from another person. The second problem is less obvious: Pig genomes are rife with DNA sequences of viruses that can infect human cells. In the 1990s, the pharmaceutical giant Novartis planned to throw as much $1 billion at animal-to-human transplant research, only to shutter its research unit after several years of failed experiments.

Quite suddenly, however, solving these two problems has become much easier and much faster thanks to the gene-editing technology CRISPR. With CRISPR, scientists can knock out the pig genes that trigger the human immune response. And they can inactivate the viruses—called porcine endogenous retroviruses, or PERVs—that lurk in the pig genome.

"PERVs", really.

Anyway, it'll be a great world of the future, just like in Black Mirror!! :D
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Re: The Genetic Engineering Thread

Postby Doctor X » Sun Dec 31, 2017 8:11 am

They felt "heterospecies endogenous non-traitorious allele insertions" would be "too gross."


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Re: The Genetic Engineering Thread

Postby shemp » Sun Dec 31, 2017 2:50 pm

But it's not kosher!
"It is not I who is mad! It is I who is crazy!" -- Ren Hoek

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Re: The Genetic Engineering Thread

Postby Bruce » Sun Dec 31, 2017 5:31 pm

Humans have been genetically engineering ever since we first started farming. Do you think GOD made that corn you're eating?

We're just getting really good at it.

There is a wave of new cancer fighting drugs coming down the pipe that are gene specific designer drugs. These things are really impressive, but they are incredibly difficult to synthesize and analyze. They are composed of a lipid "backbone" to get through the cell wall, an "anchor" to ensure that they are entering the correct type of cell, and a "bomb" that destroys the DNA of the cells from the inside.

It's a wicked and effective strategy. I picture it as giving the address of the bad guy to agent 007, handing him a key to the bad guy's back door, and a discrete C4 for him to plant once he's inside.

From a synthetic and analytical standpoint, its difficult to control. For one thing, the "bomb" portion of the molecule is incredibly toxic until it's attached to the lipid, so you have to make sure every bomb molecule is attached to a lipid molecule. For another thing, any lipid molecule that doesn't have an anchor molecule is useless because the target cell will ignore it. Finally, once the molecule is assembled, it's impossible to analyze because it's way too big to detect by conventional analytical means. Basically, we have to take a portion of the drug and digest it in a way that won't obliterate it's components and then quantify those components. There is no way to directly quantify the assembled molecule itself and determine how much of the pill contains all three active components.

At least not yet. Q is working on it. :wink:

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