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First Bacterial Genome Created Entirely With a Computer


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Caulobacter crescentus is a harmless bacterium living in fresh water.

ETH Zurich researchers have developed a technique that significantly streamlines production of large DNA molecules.

Credit: Martin Oeggerli/Science Photo Library

Researchers at ETH Zurich in Switzerland have developed a technique that significantly streamlines production of large DNA molecules containing hundreds of genes, applying it to assemble the first genome of a bacterium designed entirely by a computer algorithm.

ETH Zurich brothers Beat Christen and Matthias Christen radically modified the bacterium's genome sequence via algorithm to make genomes simpler to generate, as well as addressing fundamental issues of biology.

Their algorithm harnessed the inherent redundancy of genetic information storage, enabling the Christens to compute the ideal DNA sequence for genome synthesis and construction.

The researchers planted many small alterations into the minimal genome, replacing more than a sixth of the 800,000 DNA protein components.

Said Beat Christen, “Our method is a litmus test to see whether we biologists have correctly understood genetics, and it allows us to highlight possible gaps in our knowledge.”

From ETH Zurich
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Abstracts Copyright © 2019 SmithBucklin, Washington, DC, USA


 

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