Friday, September 7, 2007

Synthetic Genomics


A company spun out of work at The Institute for Genomic Research, now the J. Craig Venter Institute, on what was termed the “minimal genome project.” The research centered on the very small genome of Mycoplasma genitalium, a bacterium with only 517 genes that primarily causes urinary tract infections in humans. The research team led by Dr. Hutchison surmised that perhaps they could ascertain which genes were essential to sustain the life of the organism. After using a technique pioneered by Dr. Hutchison called global transposon mutagenesis, the team was able to knock out non-essential genes and get to a core set of 265 to 350 genes that were needed to sustain life.

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