Volume 88 Issue 29 | pp. 34-36
Issue Date: July 19, 2010

Custom-Made Cells

Synthetic biologists use opposing methods to make microbes with tailored functions
Department: Science & Technology
Keywords: E. Coli, synthetic biology, yeast, biofuels, synthetic, genome, DNA

Before dawn one Monday morning this spring, Dan Gibson peered through an electron microscope in a Rockville, Md., lab. What the genetic researcher saw was a milestone in his field. Two blue blobs of cell colonies that resembled a pair of eyeballs stared back at him. A cell, the first controlled by a synthetic genome, had reproduced, proving it was functional.

Gibson’s finding called for a cautiously worded 6 AM text message to . . .

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