Friday, November 23, 2007

DIY Synthetic Biology

I just found another branch of knowledge that my children should play with when they grow up a bit. They can hack bacteria to do interesting things!*

I think Thailand could have a shot at doing significant work in this field. To start, drop by the Registry of Standard Biological Parts and look through the catalog of what is available. You can start on this page. Maybe we can make bacteria clean up our pollution or collect energy for us or something much more imaginative.

This reminds me of a sci-fi story I read many years ago titled "The Self-Made Man" (or something similar, I'm not sure) where children got genetic-engineering kits as gifts and the protagonist, starting as an enforcement agent/assassin of a GMO-producing corporation, created an empire based on genetic-engineered inventions. I think I have a good chance to see that sci-fi story becomes reality.

Or we will become extinct because of some stupid mistake.

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*If you think bacteria are yucky, I would like to remind you that the number of bacterial cells in your body outnumbers your own human cells 10 to 1! Read this article to blow your mind :-)

For an easy overview of cells, see this HowStuffWorks: How Cells Work article.

Human is a giga-peta-engineering project of cells. Isn't it funny that the living peta-system is now studying nanotechnology?

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