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> Is it possible to synthesize a single functional cell?
Iridium
post Nov 22, 2008, 01:10 AM
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We know the compostion of a single cell, from molecular up to atomic level. Theoretically, is it possible to synthesize a single functional cell in vitro? If so, it is possible to create or design new life.
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Phi
post Nov 22, 2008, 08:59 AM
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That's an interesting idea. I'd be worried about what that single celled organism would do...could that be the end?
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Iridium
post Nov 22, 2008, 06:23 PM
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My point is that if we are able to create a single cell, we can have them working together to generate tissue - organ - system - organism.
Hmm.... suddenly it came an idea that we may mix different kinds of cell types together to generate new type of tissue with special function, if they can work together ....
It may be helpful for therapeutic purpose. Eg: For regulation of carcinogenic progression, if we can have some tissues that serve as biosensor(say, hormonal level detection) and another group of tissues localized adjacent to the tumor that respond to suppress some mechanisms that affect the cancer growth in response to the detection. Or we may implant tissues surrounding the tumor that serve as filter for some compounds to control the progression of tumor, just like the blood brain barrier in CNS.
Or, implantation of computer microchip with an artificial gland into the tumor for regulated localised chemotherapy would be more practical? Since neurons have the electrical conductance properties, it can serve as electrical wiring for microchip and messenger for signal trasmission between tissues.
I also wonder if it is possible to change the inherent properties of a single cell type by improving their abilities or to acquire new function.


QUOTE(Phi @ Nov 23, 2008, 12:59 AM) *

That's an interesting idea. I'd be worried about what that single celled organism would do...could that be the end?

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maximus242
post Nov 22, 2008, 11:59 PM
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A lot of this sounds like nanotechnology

We dont know enough about cells to design our own unfortunately. While people do already create new lifeforms they are modifications of existing DNA strands. We do not know exactly which proteins cause what functions. If this were the case we could do an amazing amount of things to the human body.

I suggest reading up on nanotechnology, its much along the lines of what your describing. Though not exactly the same, I believe you will find some answers there. Its a very exciting field and it has so much potential.
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Iridium
post Nov 23, 2008, 04:45 PM
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QUOTE(maximus242 @ Nov 23, 2008, 03:59 PM) *

A lot of this sounds like nanotechnology

We dont know enough about cells to design our own unfortunately. While people do already create new lifeforms they are modifications of existing DNA strands. We do not know exactly which proteins cause what functions. If this were the case we could do an amazing amount of things to the human body.

I suggest reading up on nanotechnology, its much along the lines of what your describing. Though not exactly the same, I believe you will find some answers there. Its a very exciting field and it has so much potential.



Thanks ....:-)
Yes, you are right. There are probably thousands or millions of proteins in a cell and most of them with unknown function. What scientists doing now is to study them one by one... it seems to me that it's gonna take forever to characterise all of them. Just wonder if the pace can be speeded up by applying some other technology. If somebody invents a more powerful microscope, perhaps a "nanoscope" that can visualize the proteins, most problems can be solved easier.....:-D
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Flex
post Nov 23, 2008, 06:00 PM
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It is in the process. Most of what we know on the molecular level was discovered top down, but as was alluded to before, we are now starting to work from the bottom up. Thus far we have nano technology, but it shouldn't be long before we can create basic organisms.

I was having a conversation with Dr. Joe Sly, who is now a researcher with IMB. Some of his work is pretty crazy, not exactly in the same direction as making single celled organisms, but he did create a solar panel using synthetic chlorophyll which was extremely efficient (I believe close to 40%). I mean we are still only talking about a single component of a single organelle, but it is still pretty amazing.
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Hey Hey
post Nov 24, 2008, 01:23 PM
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QUOTE(Iridium @ Nov 24, 2008, 12:45 AM) *
There are probably thousands or millions of proteins in a cell and most of them with unknown function. What scientists doing now is to study them one by one... it seems to me that it's gonna take forever to characterise all of them.
Mycoplasma genitalium is said to have the smallest genome of any self-replicating organism, measuring only 580,070 bp.
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