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New Cell-To-Cell Communication Process Could Revolutionize Bioengineering

samzenpus posted about a year and a half ago | from the we-can-make-him-better dept.

Biotech 49

Zothecula writes "The internet has revolutionized global communications and now researchers at Stanford University are looking to provide a similar boost to bioengineering with a new process dubbed "Bi-Fi." The technology uses an innocuous virus called M13 to increase the complexity and amount of information that can be sent from cell to cell. The researchers say the Bi-Fi could help bio-engineers create complex, multicellular communities that work together to carry out important biological functions."

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49 comments

Sounds Risky (1)

clam666 (1178429) | about a year and a half ago | (#41515687)

Am I the only one who sees this in the first 3 minutes of a movie, followed by a scene with a caption "6 months later...".

Re:Sounds Risky (1)

A10Mechanic (1056868) | about a year and a half ago | (#41515821)

Yes. I can also hear Blue Oyster Cult playing "don't fear the reaper" in my head. M-O-O-N, that spells bad idea, laws yes

Re:Sounds Risky (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41517395)

exactly. it all started with the M13 virus...

Cells communicating with specially programmed viri (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41515693)

...was one of the technologies in Greg Bear's Blood Music that gave rise to super intelligent cells.

What could possibly go wrong? (4, Funny)

gestalt_n_pepper (991155) | about a year and a half ago | (#41515757)

Except perhaps, a population of schizoid zombies, giant mutant blue babies, or and army of 4-armed, forewarned lawyers.

Re:What could possibly go wrong? (3)

clam666 (1178429) | about a year and a half ago | (#41515779)

There is no outcome to this that doesn't end up with all of us dead, or praying for depth. Wasn't this the same idea behind the movie "Mimic"? Bioengineering things without any thought to what would happen in the end?

Re:What could possibly go wrong? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41517001)

or praying for depth

Dear Lord, I know I don't pray often, but could you please make this zombie deeper? Thanks.

Re:What could possibly go wrong? (1)

Khyber (864651) | about a year and a half ago | (#41517319)

You must be into necrophilia with a response like that.

Re:What could possibly go wrong? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41517453)

This guy I knew worked as an intern at the morgue as part of his forensics degree. He fucked a dead chick that got brought in, and ended up catching some sort of infection in his urethra. Never was sure if that served him right or if I should feel bad for him...

Re:What could possibly go wrong? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41517581)

Remember folks: Always bag it before you tag it. Otherwise you might catch something nasty.

Re:What could possibly go wrong? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41515909)

Except perhaps, a population of schizoid zombies, giant mutant blue babies, or and army of 4-armed, forewarned lawyers.

Oh, come now. You're thinking far, far too negatively. Think about what kinds of GOOD this could mean! It could mean the wankers obsessed with overclocking shit and blindly flying into whatever modifications could theoretically make them somehow faster would wipe themselves out! It'd be beautiful!

Re:What could possibly go wrong? (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about a year and a half ago | (#41517011)

Except perhaps, a population of schizoid zombies, giant mutant blue babies, or and army of 4-armed, forewarned lawyers.

I was brave until I saw the last word! Now I'm really scared! How come the zombies haven't already run away as far from the lawyers as they can?

Re:What could possibly go wrong? (2)

SoftwareArtist (1472499) | about a year and a half ago | (#41519935)

Just consider the frightening implications of this:

...Every cell in your body will now need its own IP address. We haven't even completed the transition to IPv6, and its address space is already at risk of being depleted!

...They've designed a new internet, and built viruses into the very lowest level of infrastructure! And you think malware is a problem today?

This sounds like a disaster in the making.

carry out important biological functions (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41515763)

Sounds dangerous.

Wait, so this is new? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41515817)

I've been using Bi-Fi for a few decades now.

It's just another name for the mid-range frequencies of your typical Gaydar.

blood music (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41515827)

its been done

OSC now has a new meta-plot (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41515911)

*We* created the Descolada Virus.

I'm Not Surprised (1, Flamebait)

GODISNOWHERE (2741453) | about a year and a half ago | (#41515957)

With a name like "Bi-Fi", and an article summary that includes the phrase "Bi-Fi could help bio-engineers create complex, multicellular communities that work together to carry out important biological functions", I knew immediately that this technology was created in California.

Re:I'm Not Surprised (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41518787)

Apart from being a German sausage brand, I would like to know what "Bi-Fi" is supposed to stand for. Birus Fidelity?

Beware.. (1)

Budgreen (561093) | about a year and a half ago | (#41515969)

The russian versions are malware, and will reprogram your dna to send them your banking info.

Not a fan of Standford (3, Funny)

bipbop (1144919) | about a year and a half ago | (#41516001)

Honestly, I'll wait until I hear something about research from Stanford. Standford isn't nearly as reputable, IMO.

Will they have that great taste? (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year and a half ago | (#41516055)

How does this work in the metal foil wrapper?

Are they made from beef or pork?

And the Innovation is...? (1)

GravidMind (2635625) | about a year and a half ago | (#41516247)

Sounds... like the same things we've been doing with designer viruses for decades. Unless they've got additional material they've developed to facilitate direct transmission of DNA from one cell to another or mastered a process whereby continual production can be done without threat to the host or in a manner that can be easily extinguished I don't see what it is that they've added other than a term "Bi-Fi" (which is a cute term, I admit). Not knocking on the idea, it's just not clear what's new about it.

Re:And the Innovation is...? (1)

Turbio (1814644) | about a year and a half ago | (#41518811)

Yeah... it's a method from the last century. It's called transduction (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transduction_%28genetics%29), and it is routinely used at the microbiology lab. The new approach here is the idea of using it for communication. But communication needs to be both ways, and they implemented just one way. For making cells react to certain stimulus, it's way better to bioengineer them adding the corresponding membrane receptor and required pathway. And the problem with using phages in this case is, how do you stop them!? They will make the cells very inefficient.

What could possibly go wrong? (1)

rickb928 (945187) | about a year and a half ago | (#41516309)

So this is a good reason to commit to a manned mission to Mars, and permanent habitation on the Moon.

Bear with me. I am not advocating doing this on either celestial body.

First, a manned mission to Mars will teach us a lot about long-term operations in space, and this will come in handy.

Second, permanent presence on the Moon will teach us more about long-term operations, handy in this scenario:

- From the Moon, build a flying lab. In this lab, we can do long-term research into such genetics and biology.
- If something bad happens, we will let the lab complete its flight into the Sun. While it's flying to oblivion, we can further study the problem.
- When it reaches the Sun, our best available incinerator kills all. Hopefully we isolated the attendants, so they don't have to be sent to oblivion also.

None of this needs to touch Earth, or Mars, or really the Moon. For all I know, low to zero gravity is a benefit, but generating gravity is fairly simple, I think. Keeping the nasties from repopulating the Earth against our wishes, less so.I'll fix the gravity problem rather than the containment problem.

And I suspect there may be issues with containment in space also, so we have that to consider, but where do you want to fight that fight? On Long Island, or between Venus and the Sun?

SO, are such experiments worth a trillon or so, to start?

Re:What could possibly go wrong? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41516991)

You've never played Homeworld:Cataclysm, have you?

Re:What could possibly go wrong? (1)

EdIII (1114411) | about a year and a half ago | (#41518893)

LMFAO. You're a riot.

Ground Control - Bob? Bob you there?
Bob - Bob here. What's going on ground control. We got all kinds of alarms going off up here.
Ground Control - We got confirmation from the sensors that g237 escaped containment and you might be infected. You're on lock down right now and I've ordered a flight plan to break orbit around Deimos and head for the Sun. SOP, you understand.
Bob - Wait, what?
Ground Control - SOP. Standard Operating Procedure, Bob. Keep up.
Bob - I know what the fuck it means. Why are you sending us into the SUN!
Ground Control - g237 is quite nasty. Wait... stand by... new development Bob. The suits are really concerned about this.
Bob - I should think so. Thank god.
Ground Control - Yes.. Yes.. Okay, they've told me to accelerate the flight plan and get you to the sun faster.
Bob - FML
Ground Control - Good news though Bob. If you can get containment under control and go through a 14 day quarantine period in the escape pods, i'm told we can authorize release and you can make it back to the quarantine facility on Phobos.
Bob - Oh god... thank you.... how much time do we have.
Ground Control - Oooohhhh. The flight plan only gives you 12 days though..... tough break Bob.

Re:What could possibly go wrong? (1)

rickb928 (945187) | about a year and a half ago | (#41521453)

Actually, I would expect the corporate/educational sponsors to figure out how to get them turned around and put into high orbit while they figure out how to get the wayward samples to Earth for explotation.

Think 'Alien'. If there's a Ripley on board, we may survive.

Bi-Fi? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41516807)

Leave it up to Stanford to create a new standard for Gaydar.

In the year 2525 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41517297)

If you know the song, you know what I mean.

Bi-Fi (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41517367)

I knew a Bi-Fag once. He preferred men a bit more than women.

I that it was Cell Phone To Cell Phone (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41518397)

ALA Walkie Talkie

Sounds good .. here's what we could do...!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41518651)

Let's make a virus that replace the section on chromosome 1 for HMG-CoA-synthase synthesis with .. lol anything (what would we care)
  and then infect these fucks with it. HMG-CoA-synthase is a very central enzyme, the lack of which will cause a miserable death in a fairly
short amount of time, I would guess a week tops. It is needed among other things for Q10 and Cholesterol synthesis so we'll shut them
down pretty much completely, no steroid hormone synthesis no fucking ATP synthesis in their mitochondriae I really love the idea.
On the other hand I got a metal dog leash and a small crowbar, I could wrap the leash over the top of their heads and their jaws and then
use the crowbar to" garrote" them until their jaws break.

For real what these fucks are screwing around with is top dangerous to the rest of us, I also got the idea that some of them need knee surgery
I would love to remove their kneecaps and implant them under their chest muscles.

Blood Music (1)

Brannoncyll (894648) | about a year and a half ago | (#41521507)

This sounds exactly like the technique used by renegade biochemist Vergil Ulam in Greg Bear's Blood Music [wikipedia.org] . The Wikipedia article does not mention the fact that the protagonist's bio-engineered creations used tame viruses to communicate. It's always funny how science fiction becomes science fact; I just hope we do not make the same mistakes.

Re:Blood Music (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41522779)

Gah! You beat me to it. :-)

That was exactly my thought when I read this. There have been a number of developments lately that reminded me of Blood Music. It's not a destiny to fear, though. Pure evolution, imho. :-)

Way overhyped (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41521813)

M13 phage isn't new. And this mode of "communication" is called phage infection.

Bi-Fi?? Talk about hype! M13 particles still diffuse real slow!

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