New technology reveals beneficial genetic constructs in the body

One of the most interesting areas in medicine is the use of living cells as

therapy.For example, using this approach to treat cancer, many patients have been cured. This is achieved by approaches from synthetic biology, a growing field that combines tools and concepts from biology and engineering.

The new technology, created by scientists at Northwestern University, uses computer modeling to efficiently identify useful genetic constructs before creating them in the laboratory.

“To construct a cage, we firstwe encode the desired biological function in the DNA fragment. This program is then delivered to a human cell to, for example, activate a gene in response to certain signals in the cellular environment, ”explains the author of the study.

A study that designed and tested dozens of genetic circuits is published in the journal Science Advances... Like other synthetic biology technologies, a key feature of this approach is that it is intended for use by other groups of bioengineers.

To date, the development of geneticTrial and error programs remain complex and time consuming. It is also difficult to implement biological functions beyond the relatively simple ones. The research team used a "toolbox" of genetic parts and combined those parts with computational tools to simulate many potential genetic programs before conducting experiments. They found that a wide range of genetic programs, each of which performs a desired and beneficial function in the human cell, can be designed to make each program work as intended.

Genetic circuits designed and implementedin this study are also more complex than in the previous prior art. This advancement makes it possible to create cells to perform more complex functions and make therapy safer and more effective.

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