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In what has been described as a step towards the creation of a synthetic cell, scientists have created a new "engineered" strain of bacteria.
A team successfully transferred the genome of one type of bacteria into a yeast cell, modified it, and then transplanted into another bacterium.
This paves the way to the creation of a synthetic organism - inserting a human-made genome into a bacterial cell.
The resulting cell he and his team created went on to undertake multiple rounds of cell division, to produce a new strain of the modified bacteria.
Dr Vashee explained to BBC News that the work overcame a hurdle in the quest to create a fully synthetic organism.
"Bacteria have 'immune' systems that protect them from foreign DNA such as those from viruses," he explained.
He and his colleagues managed to disable this immune system, which consists of proteins called restriction enzymes that home in on specific sections of DNA and chop up the genome at these points.
The bacteria (en-us-bacteria.ogg [bækˈtɪərɪə] (help·info); singular: bacterium)[α] are a large group of unicellular microorganisms. Typically a few micrometres in length, bacteria have a wide range of shapes, ranging from spheres to rods and spirals. Bacteria are ubiquitous in every habitat on Earth, growing in soil, acidic hot springs, radioactive waste, water, and deep in the Earth's crust, as well as in organic matter and the live bodies of plants and animals. There are typically 40 million bacterial cells in a gram of soil and a million bacterial cells in a millilitre of fresh water; in all, there are approximately five nonillion (5×1030) bacteria on Earth, forming much of the world's biomass. Bacteria are vital in recycling nutrients, with many steps in nutrient cycles depending on these organisms, such as the fixation of nitrogen from the atmosphere and putrefaction. However, most bacteria have not been characterized, and only about half of the phyla of bacteria have species that can be grown in the laboratory. The study of bacteria is known as bacteriology, a branch of microbiology.
This was in MAY 2209.
J. Craig Venter Institute Awarded $43 Million, Five Year Contract from NIAID to Continue to Develop and Provide Sequencing, Genotyping, and Bioinformatics Expertise and Services in Infectious Diseases