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Researchers made a living circuit out of bacteria.


Stashed in: Science!, Awesome, Singularity!, The Singularity, Oasis, Nanotechnology, Nanotech!, Biotech!, Microbiome

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Specifically, one population, the "activators", was tasked with increasing the expression of one set of genes while the others, the "repressors," acted to down-regulate other genes. Taken together, the circuit generated rhythmic gene transcription oscillations across the entire population. This coordination allows each species to produce the proteins more efficiently than if they did so individually. In turn, that could lead to greater bacterial biofuel production yields. "The main push in synthetic biology has been to engineer single cells," Bennett said. "But now we're moving toward multicellular systems. We want cells to coordinate their behaviors in order to elicit a populational response, just the way our bodies do."

Eventually, these systems could even help us regulate our own internal chemistries. "One idea is to create a yogurt using engineered bacteria," Bennett continued. "The patient eats it and the physician controls the bacteria through the patient's diet. Certain combinations of molecules in your food can turn systems within the synthetic bacteria on and off, and then these systems can communicate with each other to effect change within your gut." The team recently published their findings in the journal Science.

This seems like a sophisticated combination of biotechnology and nanotechnology.

And the use of life ecosystems to construct machine circuits seems very singularity-like. 

The whole concept of "engineering bacteria" seems novel and has much potential but it's still early days so it's hard to wrap my head around what's even possible.

and the interconnectedness of all things continues to bloom beneath our microscopes!

...perhaps influencing us in ways we cannot perceive. 

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