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SCI/TECH: Technique to Fix DNA Flaws Is Tested

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posted on Apr, 4 2005 @ 08:57 AM
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Fixing DNA code to prevent or cure diseases is a field of major interest to the medical community. Prior experiments to this end required removing damaged DNA, and reinserting healthy DNA back into the cells, often using a modified virus. Results with this method have been varied at best, and at worst have caused Leukemia. Sangamo BioSciences Inc., of Richmond, Calif. has been researching a new approach to this science. Instead of replacing the entire strand of damaged DNA, they have devised a means of "rewriting" only the damaged portions of the DNA strand. This form of DNA "editing" has had enough success in preliminary tests to warrant further animal and eventual human testing.
 



www.washingtonpost.com
Sangamo's scientists took a different approach, opting to rewrite the small errors in bad genes instead of replacing them .

They focused on tiny proteins called zinc fingers, which are made naturally by virtually all living organisms. Zinc fingers come in many varieties, each with a strong penchant for attaching itself to a particular sequence of DNA code. Once attached, they act like little levers to ratchet up or down the activity of genes. At other times, they help cells repair damaged DNA.

The Sangamo team created an entire library of zinc fingers, each designed to attach to a particular DNA sequence known to cause a disease. Each was also custom-equipped with an enzyme that allows it to cut open the strands of DNA at that location, making the code accessible for editing. When fresh snippets of correctly spelled DNA were added to cells along with these engineered zinc fingers, the cells used those bits of DNA as templates to guide the rewriting of the mutated region.

The company's prime goal is to remove blood cells from patients with genetic diseases, use zinc fingers and corrective DNA to edit errors, then reinfuse the repaired cells into the patients.


Please visit the link provided for the complete story.


This technology seems to have quite a few potential benefits. There are currently about 30,000 diseases known to be caused by defective DNA. This could possibly provide a cure for these diseases. One could also speculate that once more is known about the workings of DNA, it could also edit existing DNA code to reduce suceptibility to other diseases.

Critics of this technology warn that the means the zinc fingers use to replace DNA code causes a break in the DNA very similar to the breaks caused by cancer. This could also be a potentially dangerous technology because of the large number of cells targeted by the treatment.

Donald Kohn, a researcher at University of Southern California, experience with gene therapy said, "I think that gene correction, rather than gene addition as most gene therapy is currently approached, is theoretically a better way to go for many genetic diseases." He also warned that this technology needs much more research to be proven safe for use.

Related News Links:
biz.yahoo.com
www.smh.com.au




posted on Apr, 4 2005 @ 09:06 AM
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I do support this kind of research - BUT - I think the highest priority should be a focus on the contamination that causes genetic mutations and "defective DNA."

...Why not remove the causes? Instead of spending trillions to tinker and fix the damage?




posted on Apr, 4 2005 @ 09:12 AM
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You certainly do have a point there. And whereas I think stem cell research is the best means of decoding the human genome and being able to nip problems in the bud, this technology also would have uses to aid in that. Stem cell will, hopefully, ultimately provide the means to prevent disease from happening. Until that becomes a mainstream technology, something such as this, which is further through its development, can help to cure those same diseases in the interim.

I feel that both are important advances in biomedical technology.



posted on Apr, 4 2005 @ 09:34 AM
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Let's see here-
Modern DNA is wrong because of mankind's messing up the environment?


Iwebland . com
A modern visitor to ancient Egypt would be struck by the youthfulness of the people. Ancient Egyptians, like all mankind until the advent of modern medicine and public hygiene, died young. The age people hoped to reach was 110, described as the ideal lifespan in literature, but reality was different. Life expectancy for one year old children was less than forty years. Water-borne diseases, tuberculosis and other infectious illnesses against which the best physicians of antiquity were mostly powerless, were endemic. Periodically various kinds of plague broke out, often in the wake of wars. The sick, the very young and the elderly were especially prone to succumb.
-and-
Much of the time, malnutrition rather than hunger was the lot of many Egyptians, even of the wealthier ones, and caused scurvy, anaemia and other diseases. Famines, which were mostly local when there was a functioning central government but could become countrywide when there was none, occurred every few years despite the attempts of the authorities to keep stores which could be distributed in times of need.




That didn't work well, so let's look at Greece:


E F Moody life expectancy
Aging: (2004) The average Ancient Greek lived until age 18. The median life span of a Puritan was 33. In 1991, the average American life expectancy was about 72 years for men, 79 for women.




So much for the cries that man is destroying man. For thousands of years DNA knowledge was irrelevant and unknown. Through trial and error man advanced. The modern studies of DNA may do a lot of things, but trial and error are still going to major scientific tools and methods.
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posted on Apr, 4 2005 @ 09:50 AM
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JoeDoaks,

It's well known that enviornmental issues do have an impact on our health. It's known that the more pollution we unleash on the Earth, the more potential for harm there is to the life upon it. The enviornmental issues need to be addressed as well. I doubt anyone would argue with you on that. However, the health of humans and other forms of life on this planet are of interest to everyone. This article presents the one of the ways the biotechnology industry is trying to improve health. They are doing what they can with what they know. It's not the biotechnology scientists that can devise a plan to clean up 150 years of industrial pollution - that's the job of the civil engineers and enviornmental researchers, and many firms focusing in that field are working towards that end. The biotechnology firms, on the other hand, are working towards strengthening the body itself in light of these new enviornmental hazards.

The issue of health must be approached from many facets. Biotech is but one of them.



posted on Apr, 4 2005 @ 05:40 PM
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Originally posted by Terapin
As you know, your body is constantly rebuilding itself. Your DNA rewrites itself every time a new cell is created and this happened all day long, every day, for your entire life span. No system is perfect and fairly often your DNA is not duplicated or rather replicated exactly. This is a natural occurrence. Sure, exposure to many things can cause DNA damage but not all DNA damage is caused by outside influence. The ability to repair DNA would be a great step forward in medical technology and it's study should be pursued.

Trying to eliminate exposure to things which could cause damage to our DNA is very important and we need to take greater steps to protect our delicately balanced environment, but that alone won't solve the problem of DNA that does not replicate properly.

didn't know that DNA rewrites itself daily or multiple times a day. This being so (is it?) then DNA match used in criminal proceedings, parentage, etc. is more than suspect- it is bogus.

Supposing (for the sake of argument) someone already is ahead of published literature on DNA (I have no doubt this is true) then that person/group could in effect change DNA relevant to some issue to be something it wasn't.

Am I on the wrong track here?


Originally posted by obsidian468
It's well known that enviornmental issues do have an impact on our health. It's known that the more pollution we unleash on the Earth, the more potential for harm there is to the life upon it. The enviornmental issues need to be addressed as well.

'Addressed'- that is putting things mildly.

Modern man may obsess over environmental affects a little much. I don't mean to downplay the effects of heavy airborne pollutants, but man has changed (not necessarily evolved) in in concert with his created environment.

Industrialized man has seen many dangers and altered the dangers or his lifestyle. As an example, modern man does not cook inside without proper ventilation but for entertaining the crew on NFL night in a stupor.

Modern man realized bodily wastes, surely not something criminal he did to mother earth, are harmful to his well being. Even though he realized this it was hundreds of years before an enterprising Englishman Thomas Crapper.

Most have heard the term 'use the crapper' or 'that's crap' and perhaps have shuddered. Well, as part of my ATS venture enlightment can be a two way street. You folks are educating me about DNA so I'll educate you about crap, fair enough?


Plumbing world . com
Myth: Thomas Crapper invented the toilet.
Fact: No one in the know about Thomas Crapper would ever make this statement. In his research, Grabowski has created a detailed history of Crapper's business life. The man holds nine patents: Four for improvements to drains, three for water closets, one for manhole covers and the last for pipe joints. Every patent application for plumbing related products filed by Crapper made it through the process, and actual patents were granted.
The most famous product attributed to Thomas Crapper wasn't invented by him at all. The "Silent Valveless Water Waste Preventer" (No. 814) was a siphonic discharge system that allowed a toilet to flush effectively when the cistern was only half full. British Patent 4990 for 1819 was issued to a Mr. Albert Giblin for this product.

Fascinating subject. As with man things mankind progresses with, after much use the newness and spectacularity is consigned to the scrap heap of life.
Perhaps the modern subject of DNA studies will bring as much help to mankind as Crapper did or impact the thing called civilization as positively. Only time can judge.

Another interesting point is that Crapper and his contemporaries did all their development without public funds!



Upgrade many will be more familiar with.


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posted on Apr, 4 2005 @ 09:59 PM
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Wow this was a two for one thread... First I get to read about cutting edge dna repair. Then as an added bonus I get the history of the toilet. Thanks guys



posted on Apr, 5 2005 @ 01:37 AM
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Originally posted by Sugarlump
Wow this was a two for one thread... First I get to read about cutting edge dna repair. Then as an added bonus I get the history of the toilet. Thanks guys

Yes, learning should be entertaining.
(makes you wish you had a monitor in the bathroom doesn't it?)

So if my DNA changes every thime I have a new cell- hmmm,



posted on Apr, 5 2005 @ 08:57 AM
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Originally posted by JoeDoaks

So if my DNA changes every thime I have a new cell- hmmm,




Nah Joe - it rewrites itself. So if all is as it should be, the code comes out the same - but if there are new "influences," adaptations are made or glitches happen (mutations). ...Looks like our DNA (genetic code) is a responsive complex adaptive system - and pretty wonderful - but it can kick back on us too, and it does. IMO - we should lose the poisons we dump in the world and quit forcing our genetic code to adapt to crap. ...Let us mutate and evolve for a good world, not get pushed to extinction by a bad one.



posted on Apr, 6 2005 @ 12:23 AM
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Originally posted by soficrow
Nah Joe - it rewrites itself. So if all is as it should be, the code comes out the same - but if there are new "influences," adaptations are made or glitches happen (mutations). ...Looks like our DNA (genetic code) is a responsive complex adaptive system - and pretty wonderful - but it can kick back on us too, and it does. IMO - we should lose the poisons we dump in the world and quit forcing our genetic code to adapt to crap. ...Let us mutate and evolve for a good world, not get pushed to extinction by a bad one.

So DNA rewrites for the sake of nothing better to do? That's kind of wasteful.

I really don't think it works that way. This whole DNA thing is too new to really comprehend what is what. Lots of speculation in the field(s). For DNA to routinely rewrite itself there must be some rationale to the body for doing this.

I get injured- within a few minutes another injury. When would DNA rewrite? I quit smoking- is DNA going to rewrite to take this into account? If so, then I could start and stop smoking and my DNA would be constantly rewriting itself to account for this?


(from the cited source)
In experiments with human cells harboring mutations such as those that cause a fatal childhood disease, the new system fixed the broken genes in up to 20 percent of the tested cells. That is a level of efficiency hundreds of times better than previous experiments using other approaches, and one probably adequate to elicit a cure if the technique were to be used on an actual patient, the scientists reported yesterday.

DNA repair kit- within a few years progress along this line will allow scientists to alter a human?

Sounds like it to me. But then this is OUTSIDE influence, where is the rewrite?


More than 4,000 diseases are caused by tiny DNA code "misspellings" in one or another of the 30,000 or so genes tucked inside the body's cells. Lacking any method for repairing such tiny errors, researchers have been injecting entirely new genes into patients' cells -- usually ferrying them, in Trojan horse fashion, inside viruses, which have a natural talent for entering and infecting cells.

Fix my tendency to catch the flu and I grow another arm by mistake? This is experimental stuff.

Crapper would have loved to work in a modern research facility- Dr. Crapper


Does DNA rewrite before or after a flush?


Science fiction + $$= science fact
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posted on Apr, 6 2005 @ 12:39 AM
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Originally posted by soficrow
I do support this kind of research - BUT - I think the highest priority should be a focus on the contamination that causes genetic mutations and "defective DNA."

...Why not remove the causes? Instead of spending trillions to tinker and fix the damage?



the "causes" put money into their pockets. this way, they can charge everyone who is more likely to get it when the real problem isnt fixed. clever aint it?



posted on Apr, 9 2005 @ 07:33 AM
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Originally posted by JoeDoaks

Originally posted by soficrow
Nah Joe - it rewrites itself. So if all is as it should be, the code comes out the same - but if there are new "influences," adaptations are made or glitches happen (mutations). ...Looks like our DNA (genetic code) is a responsive complex adaptive system - and pretty wonderful - but it can kick back on us too, and it does. IMO - we should lose the poisons we dump in the world and quit forcing our genetic code to adapt to crap. ...Let us mutate and evolve for a good world, not get pushed to extinction by a bad one.


So DNA rewrites for the sake of nothing better to do? That's kind of wasteful.

I really don't think it works that way.



The body constantly replaces old cells with new ones - each cell is built from scratch, starting with proteins. The DNA is "rewritten" in the cell-building process. ...If the (cellular) environment has changed, the DNA may change. No mystery or waste here.

FYI - there is more to the story, as always. Ie., see:

A Non-DNA Pathway for Genetic Transmission
Re: Genetic Instability

...These links require free registration to the Biomed Central Open Access Journals - worth the effort.


[edit on 9-4-2005 by soficrow]



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