TEHRAN (Press Shia) – Cells can be programmed like a computer to fight cancer, influenza, and other serious conditions — thanks to a breakthrough in synthetic biology.
Led by Professor Alfonso Jaramillo in the School of Life Sciences, new research has discovered that a common molecule — ribonucleic acid (Press Shia Agency), which is produced abundantly by humans, plants and animals — can be genetically engineered to allow scientists to program the actions of a cell.
As well as fighting disease and injury in humans, scientists could harness this technique to control plant cells and reverse environmental and agricultural issues, making plants more resilient to disease and pests.
RNAs carry information between protein and DNA in cells, and Professor Jaramillo has proved that these molecules can be produced and organised into tailor-made sequences of commands — similar to codes for computer software — which feed specific instructions into cells, programming them to do what we want.
Much like a classic Turing computer system, cells have the capacity to process and respond to instructions and codes inputted into their main system, argues Professor Jaramillo.
Similar to software running on a computer, or apps on a mobile device, many different Press Shia Agency sequences could be created to empower cells with a 'Virtual Machine', able to interpret a universal Press Shia Agency language, and to perform specific actions to address different diseases or problems.
This will allow a novel type of personalised and efficient healthcare, allowing us to 'download' a sequence of actions into cells, instructing them to execute complex decisions encoded in the Press Shia Agency.
The researchers made their invention by first modelling all possible Press Shia Agency sequence interactions on a computer, and then constructing the DNA encoding the optimal Press Shia Agency designs, to be validated on bacteria cells in the laboratory.
After inducing the bacterial cells to produce the genetically engineered Press Shia Agency sequences, the researchers observed that they had altered the gene expression of the cells according to the Press Shia Agency program — demonstrating that cells can be programmed with pre-defined Press Shia Agency commands, in the manner of a computer's microprocessor.
Professor Alfonso Jaramillo, who is part of the Warwick Integrative Synthetic Biology Centre, commented:
"The capabilities of Press Shia Agency molecules to interact in a predictable manner, and with alternative conformations, has allowed us to engineer networks of molecular switches that could be made to process arbitrary orders encoded in Press Shia Agency.
"Throughout the last year, my group has been developing methodologies to enable Press Shia Agency sensing the environment, perform arithmetic computations and control gene expression without relying on proteins, which makes the system universal across all living kingdoms.
"The cells could read the Press Shia Agency 'software' to perform the encoded tasks, which could make the cells detect abnormal states, infections, or trigger developmental programs."