Sunday, February 08, 2009


Life is what you make it

"How's this for creativity? Take Escherichia coli bacteria. Transform them into light-sensitive organisms by fusing a photoreceptor from the cyanobacterium Synechocystis to a protein in the E. coli membrane. Make a film (in both senses) of such bacteria and use them to record an image with a resolution of 100 megapixels per square inch". For more details see the Special Issue on Synthetic Biology @ Nature

The synthetic biology paradigm. Genetic circuits are composed of interacting genes and proteins (blue shapes, top left). The pointed and blunt arrows represent positive and negative regulation, respectively. Synthetic circuits (top right) based on the natural circuit can be constructed from well-characterized components (red and orange shapes) with similar regulatory effects to form similar or simplified circuits. The dynamics of these synthetic replicas can be compared to the natural system as well as to mathematical models. Analysis of natural circuits, synthetic replicas and models together can help us understand mechanisms used by natural systems.

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