If youre new to this channel welcome. This is mr singularity, where we explore the scientific and technological breakthroughs shaping the future. As we know it, the ability to read genomes has improved our view of biology. Being able to compose them would allow us extraordinary influence over the fabric of life. Rapid developments in dna, sequencing and gene editing technologies means that we are now really in the era of genomics for a few hundred bucks. Genetic testing firms will send you a detailed description of your heritage and the vulnerability of a host of diseases. The first genetically engineered humans were going to transform into one. In particular, the invention of crispr has given us the opportunity to tweak dna with amazing accuracy, but we are still mainly limited to flipping individual genes off and on or exchanging one gene with another. The field of synthetic biology aims to improve this by applying engineering concepts. To biology yet theres a long way to go and a group of leading geneticists has now mapped out the technology roadmap needed to get there, which was released last week in science policy magazine here are the four places that we need to step up the game. Design of genomes, the end aim of genetic engineering is to bring about a change in the phenotype. The external characteristics in the target organism, but most complex characteristics are the result of a complicated relationship between several genes and the environment of the organism. So mapping how dna tweaks transform into desirable qualities is difficult, large scale, genome design would involve computer algorithms.

That can do this specifically and effectively. Although projects like synthetic yeast, 2.0 have taken the first steps in this direction, the field needs to develop complex new models that can forecast the effects of changes in the genome sequence. They could still be decades away, but using machine learning to mine the abundance of biology data in public databases could speed them up. Programs that can simplify the design of studies to minimize the number of design rounds will also be required, as will the introduction of shared data standards to promote cooperation. Synthesis of dna weve been able to synthesize dna for decades, but the most common technique is limited to a few hundred base. Pairs of small sections of dna building whole genomes involves long sequences of several thousand base pairs, so scientists are currently dependent on a laborious and error prone method of sewing together. Several smaller dna pieces, large scale, genome engineering will require much quicker, cheaper and more efficient dna assembly methods. A nearer term prospect is the design of new enzymes that can reduce the number of errors and thus improve the performance of the operation. But in the long run, an emerging technology that can generate long and precise sequences provides much more promise and there are still some interesting enzyme based methods that could match the bill. Editing the genome, although our gene editing prowess, has come a long way. We nevertheless failed to make widespread improvements to the genome. At the same time, if we could improve this capability, it could dramatically minimize the amount of time it takes to alter species, also lessen the need to create genomes from scratch.

This would involve discovering ways to prevent the multitude of guides rnas homing devices that tell crispr where to make changes in the genome needed for simultaneous editing of several genes from communicating with each other. It will also be important to build a library of resources to make improvements around the genome and accessibility maps that will highlight how different goals can be modified effectively. These would make it possible for scientists to prepare where they can make adjustments in order to produce the desired outcomes and form the foundation for predictive computer models that will streamline the process. Construction of chromosomes dna is more than just a string of genes. It is packed into chromosomes the number and structure of which differ across organisms. Our ability to combine and modify these chromosomes is still very primitive. Most of the attempts so far have focused on yeast to do this for us and have been able to work with a virus, bacterial yeast and algal chromosomes, as well as fragments of mice and human genomes. But the engineering of more specialized artificial chromosomes appears to be on yeast, so we need to pursue younger, more versatile species that can do this. The transformation of these genes into the target organism is also a big bottleneck. Techniques such as cell fusion and micro injection are promising, but require support for multi disciplinary studies to bridge the gap between microfluidics and molecular biology. There is also a need for a deeper understanding of the basic forces that control the architecture of chromosomes and how they interact.

Global power, it will take decades to do all this and it would entail the same kind of huge cross disciplinary initiative as seen in the human genome project. It would also need concerted government funding and close participation in the private sector if it becomes a reality. Although the advantages of harnessing the ability to write genetic code from scratch may be immense for the scientific medicinal, agricultural and chemical industries and for humankind as a whole whats your take on this, let me know down in the comments below and check out.

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