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{bio,medical} informatics

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

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find related articles. powered by google. New York Times Building a Virtual Microbe, Gene by Gene by Gene
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""You can sit down at a computer, and you can design experiments, and you can see the performance of this thing, and then you can figure out why it's done what it's done," Dr. Ellison said. "You're not going to recognize the full return of the biological revolution until you can simulate a living organism."

In the past few years this fantasy has become plausible and now Dr. Ellison is part of an international team of biologists who are now trying to make it a reality. They have chosen to recreate Escherichia coli, the humble resident of the human gut that has been the favorite species for biology experiments for decades."

redux [11.14.03]
find related articles. powered by google. BBC Scientists use DNA to make virus

"For now, "this is basic science at the most basic level with lots of unknowns".

But he added: "The ability to construct synthetic genomes may lead to extraordinary advances in our ability to engineer micro-organisms for many vital energy and environmental purposes"."

find related articles. powered by google. Genomeweb IBEA Researchers Synthesize Bacteriophage Genome: PCA Technology to be Freely Available
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"Venter also said during the press conference that his team would not commercialize PCA, nor would he file patents on it. "We'd rather wait till the next stage when there's a clear cut application: for instance if we have something that produces hydrogen that might hold some value." Asked how the PCA technology will be made available to other scientists he said "By reading our paper."

redux [11.26.02]
find related articles. powered by google. The Scientist Minimal controversy
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"Craig Venter's "minimal genome" project announced Wednesday is not about creating a new life form and probably doesn't pose much of a biowarfare threat, researchers say. The high-profile project was just funded by the US Department of Energy (DOE) with $3 million going to the Institute for Biological Energy Alternatives (IBEA), one of the non-profit research institutes Venter founded after leaving the newly profit-minded Celera Genomics early this year.

According to some scientists, the new project won't even define the minimal genomethe basic gene set required for lifebecause there can be no single minimal genome."

find related articles. powered by google. Astrobiology Magazine Life from Scratch?

"Several years ago, Venter first looked at this mycoplasma as the best such model, because the organism is a record-holder of sorts: the self-replicating life form with the smallest known complement of genetic material. Unlike the human genome with its 30,000 to 50,000 genes, M. genitalium gets by with only 517. But remarkably, nearly half of even that minimal set is extra baggage. Under some laboratory conditions, as few as 300 of the genes can fulfill its definition as a lifeform that feeds and divides.

As it turns out, what is the definition of life itself? and also exactly what is its minimal genetic set? have been hotly contested. Gene size is one of the main limits to what could be the final and minimal cell size, and thus may set a limit on possible targets for creating life from scratch.

But what structures are too small or too simple to be considered "life"?"

[ rhetoric ]

Bioinformatics will be at the core of biology in the 21st century. In fields ranging from structural biology to genomics to biomedical imaging, ready access to data and analytical tools are fundamentally changing the way investigators in the life sciences conduct research and approach problems. Complex, computationally intensive biological problems are now being addressed and promise to significantly advance our understanding of biology and medicine. No biological discipline will be unaffected by these technological breakthroughs.


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