Researchers “Upgrade” Fly DNA to Produce Proteins Not Found in Nature
The genetic code of the fruit fly Drosophila has been hacked into, allowing it to make proteins with properties that don’t exist in the natural world. The advance could ultimately lead to the creation of new or “improved” life forms in the burgeoning field of synthetic biology.
…Chin’s team has engineered fruit flies that incorporated three new amino acids into proteins in the cells of their ovaries. The flies were engineered using bacteria that had been modified to insert the genetic code for the unnatural amino acid into the fly DNA.
There was no apparent impact on the flies’ health, and they even produced healthy offspring that also made the new protein chains.
“This work provides a very significant expansion on our capability to manipulate and alter proteins involved in specific cellular and developmental processes. It will provide new insights into human disease mechanisms, memory and ageing.”
(via Synthetic ‘upgrade’ for fruit fly’s DNA - life - 13 August 2012 - New Scientist)