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Biotechnology/Synthetic Biology: "Splice (2009)"

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Christine Anthony

on 16 December 2012

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Transcript of Biotechnology/Synthetic Biology: "Splice (2009)"

Biotechnology/Synthetic Biology: "Splice (2009)" What is synthetic biolgy? Who is Craig Venter? Current Research Ethical Implications Future Predictions Advantages and Disadvantages Future Recommendations “Splice” (2009) -Combines science and engineering

-The common aim of synthetic biology is to create something that is not found in nature

-There are key technologies that aid in the growth of synthetic biology and these include: DNA synthesis and DNA sequencing

-Researchers might soon program cells to produce vast quantities of biofuel from renewable sources, or to sense the presence of toxins, or to release precise quantities of insulin as a body needs it Synthetic Biology
-Specific technique within synthetic biology

-Gene splicing is the process in which sections of DNA from one or more different organisms are combined to form recombinant DNA. Gene Splicing -The movie “Splice” is Hollywood’s interpretation into the scientific world of synthetic biology

-The film centers on a couple, Clive Nicoli and Elsa Kast that are scientists of Newstead Pharmaceuticals.  

-They attempt to combine human DNA with various animal DNA by gene splicing.

-Their goal was to create a hybrid animal for human medical use by isolating certain proteins

-Splice is centered on a transgenic organism named Dren. -Expand current NIH guidelines
-Study synthesized microorganism
-Increase public awareness of biosynthesis
-More oversight in laboratories
-Redesign microorganism’s synthetic code to:
-Be unable to survive/replicate outside of lab
-Encode a self-destruct mechanism Our Recommendations -Should have been working in a supervised lab when synthesizing Dren.

-Should have never introduced human DNA with animal DNA without prior testing

-Hybrid should not have been brought to full term Things that should have been done differently in Splice with new regulations Christine Anthony, Cameron Baldes, Karthic Chandran, Jake Greczek, Alex Grohmann, Luke Knapp, and Sean Watts What may be Zoos of man made creatures
IMAGINE Inspires Splice SYNTHETIC LIFE Becomes scientific fact SCIENCE FICTION What may be Custom designed pets: Nobody else would have a pet like yours. -Craig Venter and colleagues created the first form of artificial life in October, 2009

-Brought 1.08 million base pairs together

-Took chemically synthesized DNA and placed it into a bacterium so that it could produce a synthetic cell-Not a simple task -Assembly


-Self -Replication

-“Synthia” was created Becomes scientific fact -Medical and Industrial Interests

-Medical: Vaccine synthesis, tissue printing, viral programming

-Industrial: Biofuels, chemical production Current Research • Silk from orb-weaving spiders is a copolymer of two large proteins
-MaSp1 and MaSp2

• “Freckles”- cloned the MaSp1 gene into the gene responsible for lactation

• Used for the mass production of silk
-silk has enormous tensile strength Reproducing Natural Spider Silks’ Copolymer Behavior in Synthetic
Silk Mimics • Researchers at Wake Forest University have printed two chamber hearts,

• Current models cannot print livers, kidneys, and pancreas due to the high
vasculature of the organs Tissue Printing -Hybrid animal production
-Animal produced using
genes from a handful of
different animals
-Reptiles, Livestock,
Mammals, Fish etc…
-Use of future biotechnology
-Artificial uterus
-Computerized gene transfer/splicing
-Real time small molecule blood screening Future Biology in Splice -Advances in genetic engineering and synthetic
biology will be closely tied to the development
of biotechnology.

-Based on current research, most advances will be
in agriculture and medicine
The Future Agriculture:
-Utilize microbes to develop a second way for plants to convert sunlight to biomass
-Custom crops designed to the region where they are being grown
-Decrease growing time (i.e. multiple harvests a year)
-Disease resistance (plants and animals)
-Increase plant production of useful proteins
-More efficient, renewable biofuels

-Switch from chemical medicine to gene therapy medicine
-Custom drugs designed to patients biology
-Artificial metabolism
-Genetic correction
-Organ printing (currently in infancy possibilities for nerve restoration)
-Robotic nano-machines to combat cancer The Future: Ideas -Cosmetic Industry
Change appearance
Skin, hair, reduce signs of aging, etc..
Performance enhancement: increase strength and endurance.
Boost memory and information retention
Custom bioweapons to target individuals Future: Beyond Agriculture and Medicine -More accurate AIDS testing have already been developed
-Current research focuses on manufacturing drugs that are expensive/limited supply
-Jay Keasling’s work on producing artemisinin
-Similar work on cancer and HIV drugs, such as taxol and prostratin
-Reduce costs and more available Medical Advances -Accidental Release
-microbes with toxic genes
-endemics that cannot be eliminated
-Testing in open environment
- excessive colonization
-disruption of natural habitats
-extinction of species Potential Dangers -The President’s Commission for the study of Ethical problems in Medicine and
-Frankenstein Effect
-Playing God
-Religious Viewpoints
-Consequences Ethical Concerns -Human Evolution
-Elimination of Equal
-Change the
Meaning of being Human
-Public Backlash
-FDA Ethical Concerns Cont. "The single biggest contribution I could make." -Pharmaceutical companies
-Government agencies
-Research universities
-Cosmetic industries
-Medical industries
-Public Stakeholders -Splice is just one of numerous examples of
horror films influenced by biosynthesis
-Synthetic biology is still a highly debated topic
-Future has a strong potential in the medical industry and agriculture.
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