In DepthSynthetic Biology

Mission possible: Rewriting the genetic code

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  19 Aug 2016:
Vol. 353, Issue 6301, pp. 739
DOI: 10.1126/science.353.6301.739

You are currently viewing the summary.

View Full Text

Log in to view the full text

Log in through your institution

Log in through your institution

Summary

The term "life hacking" usually refers to clever tweaks that make your life more productive. But on p. 819, a team of scientists comes a step closer to the literal meaning: hacking the machinery of life itself. They have designed—though not completely assembled—a synthetic Escherichia coli genome that could use a protein-coding scheme different from the one employed by all known life. Requiring a staggering 62,000 DNA changes, the finished genome would be the most complicated genetic engineering feat so far. E. coli running this rewritten genome could become a new workhorse for laboratory experiments and a factory for new industrial chemicals, its creators predict.