Scientists Create Animal with Artificial Data

For the first time ever, an animal containing artificial data in its genetic code has been developed by scientists which could result in the possibility of the establishment of “man-made properties in a wide range of animals,” according to a recent article in The Daily Mail. In addition, they could get “atom-by-atom control over molecules in living things” as well.

The research was undertaken by scientists from the Medical Research Council Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, who “modified the genetic code of nematode worms, 1mm long invertebrates with just a thousand cells in their transparent bodies.  The study was recorded in the Journal of the American Chemical Society.

The team proved their results using a fluorescent dye – the artificial protein they introduced into the worms’ DNA contained a fluorescent dye that glows cherry red under ultraviolet light.”  If it worked the protein would have to be replicated in all of the worms’ bodies cells for the worms to completely ignite under the rays but there would not be a glow if the technique didn’t work.

Every living creature has DNA in each cell, acting as a blueprint to set the characteristics of the organism which is comprised of “strings of simpler building blocks called amino acids, which, depending on their combinations, make the different proteins needed to sustain life.”  Each organism contains 20 different amino acids, but combining them all leads to tens of thousands of different proteins.

With this research however, Jason Chin and Sebastian Greiss used a 21st “man-made amino acid not found in nature, in the nematode worms’ DNA,” for the first time ever. In the future, such an approach might be able to be used as a way of bringing in other “amino acids into the animals that could be controlled by light.”