We had a great talk by John Glass, who was a principal on the team who, after about 15 years and 40 million dollars, synthetically created a bacteria genome. Well now we have Lisa Scheifele. (Yeah, she has a PhD) Lisa was on the team that very recently created the first synthetic chromosome in a "higher" organism (yeast) whose cells contain nuclei (eukaryote), unlike bacteria. And Lisa is doing more than talking. In her words
" Since the Human Genome Project, scientists have become masters at reading the genetic code. But now, new technologies allow us to not only read DNA sequences, but also to write the genetic code! Scientists now regularly custom design and then synthesize short DNA sequence and are pioneering techniques to assemble larger custom genes and genomes. This unprecedented ability to create and manipulate living organisms has opened new frontiers in our ability to create life in the lab.
In this 5-session “Build-a-Gene” class, we will learn and practice the techniques that synthetic biologists use in genome synthesis, including creation of synthetic genes, assembly of larger DNA fragments by Gibson Assembly, and the use of yeast cells for gene assembly. In addition to lab work, we will be discussing this brave new frontier in biological engineering- how this technology is currently being used to redesign cells and systems, and how society should respond to and regulate this new field. Join us as we learn to synthesize new genes from scratch!
In this first session we'll discuss different ways to customize gene sequences, and we'll assemble small DNA pieces into a gene-sized DNA segment. The five sessions are designed to give a good survey of synthetic biology techniques while doing an interesting project. While we encourage you to take all five sessions, each session can stand on its own. You do not need to commit to all five sessions to enjoy the experience. There are no prerequisites!"
The five sessions will be on Saturdays, July 12 and 26 and August 9, 23, and 30 all at 9:00 AM to 1 PM. For early registration, cost is $65 per session, free to members. 3 days before the session (July 9) the price goes up to $75 per session, and $10 to members. (this is to encourage early enrollment so that we can properly plan) Please Register HERE
As a lead-in to a series of classes (for the public) being offered this summer on gene synthesis from completely synthetic oligos, board member Dr Lisa Scheifele has brought in a premier scientist to dazzle you. Hyperbole is woefully inadequate as we welcome John I. Glass, of the J. Craig Venter Institute, Rockville, MD & La Jolla, CA. In Dr Glass's words:
"In 2010, our team of synthetic biologists announced the creation of a bacterial cell that had a chemically synthesized genome. To build this synthetic Mycoplasma mycoides JCVI 1.0 we had to develop two sets of methods. The path to develop what we believe will be the foundation technologies of the field of Synthetic Genomics took ~150 man year and many twists and turns. We made the 1.1 Mbp M. mycoides genome using a series of new techniques for assembly of DNA molecules in vivo in yeast cells and in vitro. This process we called Genome Assembly. The other new technical repertoire is Genome Transplantation. We isolated our synthetic genome, which was cloned as a yeast artificial chromosome, and installed it into cells of a closely related bacterial species. We are currently eliminating all the genes in this organism not essential for growth in the laboratory. We expect to produce a cell with less than 400 protein-coding genes. This minimal bacterium will likely have about 100 genes of unknown function, and most of those will have homologous genes in most other bacteria. We plan to use this simple organism to investigate the fundamental principles of cellular life. The Synthetic Genomics technology developed from this effort will enable biologists to build both microbes as well as eukaryotic cells capable of solving human needs in medicine, bioenergy and industry. For instance we envision the same Genome Assembly and Genome Transplantation technologies used to build synthetic microbial cells could be used to make human artificial chromosomes and install them in cells for therapeutic and research purposes."
Definitely NOT average fare. This is your chance to hear from a key member of perhaps the most audacious group of scientists on the planet. This talk is designed to appeal to both the expert and the interested public, in the non TED talk conversational ambiance of our beloved biohackerspace. What are you waiting for? I don't mind telling you our till is low. RSVP (and donate if you can) HERE
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