Beta

Slashdot: News for Nerds

×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Scientists Create Bacteria With Expanded DNA Code

samzenpus posted about 2 months ago | from the what-could-go-wrong? dept.

Biotech 85

perryizgr8 (1370173) writes "Biologists have managed to create a bacteria with DNA made of the usual A-T, C-G plus an artificial third base pair, thus encoding more data in DNA. From the article: 'The scientists behind the work at the Scripps Research Institute have already formed a company to try to use the technique to develop new antibiotics, vaccines and other products, though a lot more work needs to be done before this is practical. The work also gives some support to the concept that life can exist elsewhere in the universe using genetics different from those on Earth. “This is the first time that you have had a living cell manage an alien genetic alphabet,” said Steven A. Benner, a researcher in the field at the Foundation for Applied Molecular Evolution in Gainesville, Fla., who was not involved in the new work.'"

cancel ×

85 comments

Obligatory (4, Funny)

Circlotron (764156) | about 2 months ago | (#46955675)

I for one, welcome our new bacteria overlords.

Re:Obligatory (0)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 2 months ago | (#46955731)

Congratulations for the first first post in stereo!

Re:Obligatory (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46958175)

K. S. Kyosuke: You've been called out (for tossing names) & you ran "forrest" from a fair challenge http://slashdot.org/comments.p... [slashdot.org]

Re:Obligatory (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46960093)

K. S. Kyosuke: You've been called out (for tossing names) & you ran "forrest" from a fair challenge http://slashdot.org/comments.p... [slashdot.org]

Re:Obligatory (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46955769)

We don't need another reddit ffs, go take that shit over there mate

Re:Obligatory (1)

umghhh (965931) | about 2 months ago | (#46957659)

does this have anything to do with IQ strengthening gene?

Re:Obligatory (1)

Shortguy881 (2883333) | about 2 months ago | (#46962901)

To Quote a major cultural influence and perhaps some of the greatest minds of our time:

"History shows again and again how nature points out the follies of man..... GODZILLA!" - Blue Oyster Cult

What could possibly go wrong? (1)

DutchUncle (826473) | about 2 months ago | (#46955689)

I, for one, welcome our new alien-genetic infections.

Re:What could possibly go wrong? (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 2 months ago | (#46955719)

Congratulations to the first first post in stereo!

Re:What could possibly go wrong? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46958165)

K. S. Kyosuke: You've been called out (for tossing names) & you ran "forrest" from a fair challenge http://slashdot.org/comments.p... [slashdot.org]

This is not a laughing matter (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46961689)

APK you really should seek professional help.

I'm laughing @ K.S. Kyosuke (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46961931)

K,S, Kyosuke tossed names @ apk. Apk fairly challenged him. K.S. Kyosuke ran. K.S. Kyosuke needs help if anyone does.

Missing the point (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46962471)

I didnt read your comment. The point is, obsessing over individuals and these perceived slights is very damaging to your already fragile mental health. A professional would tell you the same, if you only had the sense to seek professional help.

K.S. Kyosucky, we know it's you (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46967621)

Run dry of sockpuppet modpoints to downmod us with already? Yes. Hahahaha. You lose. You fail.

Re:What could possibly go wrong? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46960103)

K. S. Kyosuke: You've been called out (for tossing names) & you ran "forrest" from a fair challenge http://slashdot.org/comments.p... [slashdot.org]

Re:What could possibly go wrong? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46958721)

It's the bacteria that starts the Zombie Apocalypse.

Grab your crossbow!

Re:What could possibly go wrong? (1)

kheldan (1460303) | about 2 months ago | (#46959129)

..yeah, unfortunately, this.
I harp on Monsanto quite a bit for their rushing inadequately-tested GMO shit to market, but them splicing insect DNA into tomatoes is amateur night/grade school science fair-level compared to what they'll do to life on Earth when they start creating shit from scratch using what is for all intents and purposes alien DNA.

Re:What could possibly go wrong? (1)

ArmoredDragon (3450605) | about 2 months ago | (#46963479)

If you're going to moan and groan about GMO food, at least learn what you're moaning and groaning about. Nobody anywhere ever splices insect DNA, or DNA from any other species for that matter, into any food that lands on your plate. Those stories you hear the contrary are one of three things:

1) A sci-fi movie
2) An urban myth
3) Experimentation to better understand genetics

The third item has never made it to your dinner plate. Concepts derived from it may have, but the actual act of copying genes from one species into the genome of another has never been used to commercially produce any food you've eaten. All commercially sold GMO foods are modified with very tiny (compared to natural mutations during normal reproduction) changes to small sets of proteins.

Here are a few inconvenient facts for the anti-GMO crowd:

1) Monsanto has never spliced a gene from one species into another and then sold it to you.
2) You yourself however are the result of exactly this process. We all are. In fact the human placenta comes from a gene that is actually foreign to is what is otherwise own natural DNA. Same with about 100,000 other genes we carry.

http://blogs.discovermagazine.... [discovermagazine.com]

3) Natural mutations caused by normal breeding are much larger, are much more unknown, have a much bigger potential for causing harm than the ones Monsanto introduces into its stock.
4) GMO has played a huge role in ending world hunger as of late. It also follows that being anti-GMO can kill people and cause wars in the same vein as anti-vax.
5) All supposed "studies" showing GMO foods cause harm have been debunked as junk science during peer review. Every single one of them. Keep that in mind before you go linking to me the one about the rats with colon cancer (debunked; they used rats already known to be prone to this kind of cancer, and the results were unable to be reproduced) and the pigs with stomach cancer (also debunked; the "researchers" behind this study cherry picked their data, and likewise the experiment was not reproducible.)
6) The organic industry makes much higher profit margins than the GMO industry, and they actively fund the junk science like I mentioned above so that they can get people like you to buy more of their product.

Honestly, the anti-GMO movement makes me think of a bunch of peasants with pitchforks and torches standing outside of an old lady's house making up stories about the demons she summons inside, and then they somehow have themselves convinced that this is a fact and it actually happens, so they go and burn down her house because they "know for certain" that she practices witchcraft and has seen actual demons.

I mean really, you guys are THAT bad. You guys regularly make claims about GMO that are just outright false (just as you did,) but they're lies you tell so much that you're convinced they're true, and endless stories of "my cousin's roomate's aunt's friend worked there and saw them put a fish gene in a tomato" and things equally absurd.

Queue the Apocalyptic Predictions (1)

rolfwind (528248) | about 2 months ago | (#46955691)

None of which I am in position or inclination to refute, seeing how we can't program the hardware we make ourselves all that great...

Re:Queue the Apocalyptic Predictions (1)

sinij (911942) | about 2 months ago | (#46955773)

It compiled! If you still don't like it you can code the god damned A-T, C-G plus an artificial third base pair DNA yourself!

Re:Queue the Apocalyptic Predictions (2)

postbigbang (761081) | about 2 months ago | (#46955819)

If you can code two extra genes, dozens, even millions more aren't either untenable or impossible. Artificial base pairs may end up becoming great suites and symphonies of behavior.

Alternately, bio-engineering becomes the discipline where YOU're the actual compiler.

make me

Re:Queue the Apocalyptic Predictions (1)

morethanapapercert (749527) | about 2 months ago | (#46958425)

God@Multiverse:~/$ cd /Universe_Aleph001/Milky_way/Sol/Earth

God@Multiverse:~ /Universe_Aleph001/Milky_way/Sol/Earth$ make postbigbang

God@Multiverse:~ /Universe_Aleph001/Milky_way/Sol/Earth$ you need to be root to perform this command

God@Multiverse:~ /Universe_Aleph001/Milky_way/Sol/Earth$ sudo make postbigbang

God@Multiverse:~ /Universe_Aleph001/Milky_way/Sol/Earth# warning: overriding recipe for target 'postbigbang'

Re:Queue the Apocalyptic Predictions (1)

postbigbang (761081) | about 2 months ago | (#46959261)

acrimony.h not found in module main.c

Re:Queue the Apocalyptic Predictions (1)

ChromeAeonium (1026952) | about 2 months ago | (#46956063)

From TFA:

Dr. Romesberg dismissed concern that novel organisms would run amok and cause harm, saying the technique was safe because the synthetic nucleotides were fed to the bacteria. Should the bacteria escape into the environment or enter someone’s body, they would not be able to obtain the needed synthetic material and would either die or revert to using only natural DNA.

“This could never infect something,” he said. That is one reason the company he co-founded, Synthorx, is looking at using the technique to grow viruses or bacteria to be used as live vaccines. Once in the bloodstream, they would conceivably induce an immune response but not be able to reproduce.

Sorry to say, but I think the apocalypse has been postponed yet again.

Re: Queue the Apocalyptic Predictions (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46956885)

Life finds a way

Re:Queue the Apocalyptic Predictions (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46957083)

From TFA:

Dr. Romesberg dismissed concern that novel organisms would run amok and cause harm, saying the technique was safe because the synthetic nucleotides were fed to the bacteria. Should the bacteria escape into the environment or enter someone’s body, they would not be able to obtain the needed synthetic material and would either die or revert to using only natural DNA.

“This could never infect something,” he said. That is one reason the company he co-founded, Synthorx, is looking at using the technique to grow viruses or bacteria to be used as live vaccines. Once in the bloodstream, they would conceivably induce an immune response but not be able to reproduce.

Sorry to say, but I think the apocalypse has been postponed yet again.

Yeah, the Lysine contingency.

Re:Queue the Apocalyptic Predictions (3, Informative)

Crimey McBiggles (705157) | about 2 months ago | (#46956551)

You mean "cue"?

Re:Queue the Apocalyptic Predictions (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46956745)

You mean "cue"?

No, don't presume he is uneducated. He literally wants people to make a list of salient apocalyptic predictions for him.

New traits? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46955755)

Did the bacteria exhibit any new traits due to these new base pairs?

Man, I liked that episode... (2)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 2 months ago | (#46955763)

Re:Man, I liked that episode... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46958197)

K. S. Kyosuke: You've been called out (for tossing names) & you ran "forrest" from a fair challenge http://slashdot.org/comments.p... [slashdot.org]

Question (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46961709)

If there were any merit in your wild claims, wouldn't there be a n±ü

Re:Question (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46961911)

K.S. Kyosuke tossed names @ apk in post parent to that link. Apk's challenged him fairly K.S. Kyosuke ran from it repeatedly. It's there in black and white.

Re:Question (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46962527)

Referring to yourself in the third person? Is that because even you can't stand being around APK anymore? Is this all just some feeble attempt to take attention away from the fact that you are technically clueless, a laughably inept "programmer", and the fact that the only thing of note you have ever released has been panned to high heaven by all and sundry? Not to mention its listing as malware by a number of reputable AV vendors. You need to seek professional help. I'm not joking, your condition is serious.

K.S. Kyosucky = pot calling a kettle black (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46967569)

Hypocrite (do not as I do but as I say): It's obvious it's you. Run dry of your sockpuppet modpoints already to mod us down with? Yes. Hahahaha. Apk disproved any false positives here stupid (you fail again) http://slashdot.org/comments.p... [slashdot.org] stupid.

K. S. Kyosuke gets called out & ran (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46964409)

From a fair challenge like a chickenshit blowhard http://slashdot.org/comments.p... [slashdot.org]

Hrrm... (1)

mrSnowman (1060496) | about 2 months ago | (#46955793)

“This is the first time that you have had a living cell manage an alien genetic alphabet,” said Steven A. Benner, a researcher in the field at the Foundation for Applied Molecular Evolution in Gainesville, Fla., who was not involved in the new work, and who is so totally not bitter about that.'"

Re:Hrrm... (1)

lazy genes (741633) | about 2 months ago | (#46956515)

Really, I have to call BS to this paper. Not even going to read it. If it is real it will be a very popular item.

Re:Hrrm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46957097)

No one cares.

what could go wrong? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46955825)

oh i dont know maybe these e. choli start spilling these hybrid plasmids into human host, and this crap gets tangled in our dna, and kills us. Thats certainly the only bad thing that could happen.

Re: what could go wrong? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46956875)

I do wonder why they didn't try this on less harmful bacteria. Who's idea was ecoli? Good thinking

Re: what could go wrong? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46959529)

e.coli is harmless.
Your gut is full of the stuff. It is a mutated strain that causes food poisoning.

Re:what could go wrong? (2)

Jesrad (716567) | about 2 months ago | (#46957517)

For an entertaining take, see Greg Egan's Distressed novel, which has a whole subplot about a rich family whose members have their entire DNS replaced by a "translated" equivalent made of artifical, new nucleobases, complete with updated enzymatic machinery. As a side-effect it turns their skin jet black and allows them to survive on a diet of tire rubber.

They then plan to release a superbug on their fellow humans (it cannot affect them since they have become, in effect, complete aliens) and keep the Earth for themselves.

Re:what could go wrong? (1)

Vintowin (1476905) | about 2 months ago | (#46958959)

So, they flushed their DNS cache and reloaded it? Interesting...

"United States of Secrets" PBS FRONTLINE (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46955835)

Press Release | "United States of Secrets": How the Government Came to Spy on Millions of Americans

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/... [pbs.org]

FRONTLINE Presents
United States of Secrets
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/... [pbs.org]

Part One: Tuesday, May 13, 2014, at 9 p.m. on PBS
Part Two: Tuesday, May 20, 2014, at 10 p.m. on PBS

(Check local listings)
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/... [pbs.org]

pbs.org/frontline/united-states-of-secrets
http://www.facebook.com/frontl... [facebook.com]
Twitter: @frontlinepbs #USofSecrets #frontlinepbs
Instagram: @frontlinepbs

More Privatizing of Science (2)

kwyjibo87 (2792329) | about 2 months ago | (#46955895)

'The scientists behind the work at the Scripps Research Institute have already formed a company to try to use the technique to develop new antibiotics, vaccines and other products.'

Step 1: Use public funds to do innovative research into expanding the genetic code in microbes.

Step 2: Patent everything to make sure no one else can build on your discoveries.

Step 3: Create a company that promises all the keywords for a biotech e.g. antibiotics, vaccines, etc.

Step 4: Get bought [bloomberg.com] out [nytimes.com]

Step 5: ? Profit was Step 4.

Remember when science was about discovery and standing on the shoulders of giants [wikipedia.org] ?

Re:More Privatizing of Science (1)

Ralph Wiggam (22354) | about 2 months ago | (#46955983)

You can't patent things invented from government research money. The whole point is that other people *can* build on your discoveries.

Re:More Privatizing of Science (3, Interesting)

kwyjibo87 (2792329) | about 2 months ago | (#46956013)

You can't patent things invented from government research money. The whole point is that other people *can* build on your discoveries.

Wrong. [wikipedia.org]

The key change made by Bayh-Dole was in ownership of inventions made with federal funding. Before the Bayh–Dole Act, federal research funding contracts and grants obligated inventors (where ever they worked) to assign inventions they made using federal funding to the federal government. Bayh-Dole permits a university, small business, or non-profit institution to elect to pursue ownership of an invention in preference to the government.

Re:More Privatizing of Science (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46956201)

You *can*. Getting NIH to spend money on the patent process is awkward, even if you want to spend the money yourself to get the patent on your resume. I had grounds for *three* hardware patents from work I did, but couldn't get my lab to even allow me to pay for the patent process. We did publish the work, so that it established "prior art" in cae anyone wanted to argue about it. And the designs are in use around the world.

Alien, well, uh no ... (1)

TrollstonButterbeans (2914995) | about 2 months ago | (#46955905)

I dug down to the source material because I wanted to see if they just managed to put this in the DNA or if it actually passes it down and it does.

But "alien" = no

From the article:

"the unnatural nucleoside triphosphates must be available inside the cell; endogenous polymerases must be able to use the unnatural triphosphates to faithfully replicate DNA containing the UBP within the complex cellular milieu; and finally, the UBP must be stable in the presence of pathways that maintain the integrity of DNA. Here we show that an exogenously expressed algal nucleotide triphosphate transporter efficiently imports the triphosphates of both d5SICS and dNaM (d5SICSTP and dNaMTP) into Escherichia coli"

Short version: It works because the particular building blocks are available in the cell for replication and the DNA repair mechanisms in the cell don't weed the modification out. Very significant stuff, but this isn't exactly "alien" or anything.

Re:Alien, well, uh no ... (1)

dave420 (699308) | about 2 months ago | (#46957449)

"Alien" can mean many things, "foreign" and "unknown" are two which aptly describe a base-pair not found in nature.

Re:Alien, well, uh no ... (1)

DutchUncle (826473) | about 2 months ago | (#46958345)

In my comment, I used the term "alien" in the article's sense of "genetics different from anything found on Earth". Like calling any ethnic food by the ethnic-country name even though the restaurant serving them is in NYC and all of the ingredients came from the US.

The 5th element (4, Funny)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 2 months ago | (#46955913)

So does this bacteria grown into a supermodel with orange hair?

Re:The 5th element (1)

wasteoid (1897370) | about 2 months ago | (#46956331)

Yes, but he's a dude.

Re:The 5th element (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46956961)

Yes, but he's a dude.

Yeah, milla actually is. Look at enough of her close up pics and you will come to this conclusion...

Re:The 5th element (1)

Type44Q (1233630) | about 2 months ago | (#46958399)

So does this bacteria grown into a supermodel with orange hair?

"So does this bacteria grow into a supermodel with orange hair who looks like a dude and has no tits? ('Cause, you know, we all hate tits...)

FTFY

/sarc :p

This will be mankinds greatest mark on the world (4, Interesting)

bigsexyjoe (581721) | about 2 months ago | (#46955953)

In a hundred years, there will be nothing but abandoned cities under flood waters. Humans and many other animals will be dead. But there will be some bacteria with this extra base pair.

In a hundred million years, there will be no other evidence we were even here. Perhaps a future intelligent species will look back and wonder why some bacteria has more DNA than other life. They will make many interesting theories. Some will theorize that a previous intelligent species created the third base pair. And those that do will be called crackpots.

Re:This will be mankinds greatest mark on the worl (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46956287)

In a hundred years, there will be nothing but abandoned cities under flood waters.

you don't have to believe the most alarmist of "climate disruption" theories you know. they are just saying that to scare you so that they can collect more money.

Re:This will be mankinds greatest mark on the worl (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46956789)

there's also plenty of land i think and space and all kinds of shit to live on - flooding won't wipe out the life on this planet, probably including us

Re:This will be mankinds greatest mark on the worl (2)

dave420 (699308) | about 2 months ago | (#46957513)

So you are claiming the scientists are all working together, across national boundaries in adversarial countries, falsifying their evidence so well that it can pass peer review without any single one exposing the fraud and collecting their Nobel prize and untold riches in the process, so they can collect money from you? Do you have any idea how ridiculous you sound? You are dismissing science because of what you assume will happen in the political world based on their findings. It's as bizarre as saying germ theory is a hoax because you don't want to subsidize medicare or medicaid. People like you are more dangerous than climate change.

Re:This will be mankinds greatest mark on the worl (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46957727)

Scientists don't say "In a hundred years, there will be nothing but abandoned cities under flood waters. Humans and many other animals will be dead."

That is just nonsense, deliberately concocted to try to scare people. Go ahead, post a giant list of all the "scientists" who claim that in a hundred years, all the cities in the world will be flooded and all the humans extinct. Take your time, this is SCIENCE remember!

Re:This will be mankinds greatest mark on the worl (2)

DutchUncle (826473) | about 2 months ago | (#46958389)

I agree - one need not use "belief", akin to faith "the evidence of things unseen", to accept something that is visibly trending factual data. Or to notice that high tide on the Jersey Shore has been eating away the beaches and moving closer to the houses. These are objectively observable phenomena.that CAN be seen with the naked eye. Maybe the cities won't be under *deep* flood waters, but I would advise against buying an apartment in Manhattan's Battery Park City.

Re:This will be mankinds greatest mark on the worl (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46962551)

I agree - one need not use "belief", akin to faith "the evidence of things unseen", to accept something that is visibly trending factual data. Maybe the cities won't be under *deep* flood waters, but I would advise against buying an apartment in Manhattan's Battery Park City.

Are you seriously saying that in 100 years, all the cities in the world will be flooded and all the humans extinct? And that you have examined real data, and extrapolated a trend that indicates this?

Let's look at Geneva, Switzerland, elevation 357 meters. Are we really going to get an average sea level rise of about 4 meters per year to flood Geneva in 100 years? IPCC sure doesn't say that.

IPCC predicts that sea levels will go up by about 0.18 to 0.59 meters by 2099. http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/spmsspm-projections-of.html

A sea level rise of 0.59 meters by 2099 is not going to flood every city in the world. In fact, dykes can probably prevent most of that flooding. It works in the Netherlands.

It is strange that people will believe so many BS predictions of Global Warming Ultra Doom. It is bizarre that people will defend BS claims of Climate Change Ultra Doom as "Science", even though there is no evidence for Climate Disruption Ultra Doom.

If anybody truly believes that all the cities in the world will be flooded and all humans extinct in 100 years, prove it, using science. If you can't prove it, then stop defending it! Call it BS, why would that be a problem?

If you defend obvious alarmist nonsense, and call it science, then you are a Global Warming Alarmist. What you are doing is not science. If you really believe that Global Warming is a huge threat, you need to spread accurate information. Spreading and defending lies such as "in 100 years, all the cities in the world will be flooded" doesn't help anybody!

Re:This will be mankinds greatest mark on the worl (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46956699)

I agree. I think this is a really bad idea. Far worse then "traditional" GMO

All (or most) of life has evolved from primeval soup to now with 4 base pairs. All (most) of 4 base pair DNA combinations have been explored by nature. There are no longer any surprises. Thats why there are no (or few) sudden upsets in the nature that we see around us. No super bug suddenly evolves that wipes out life as we know it

BUT with a new base pair all bets are off. There could be a sudden phase change where 5 base pair life takes over. Think superbug

Doh!

Re:This will be mankinds greatest mark on the worl (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46957025)

All (most) of 4 base pair DNA combinations have been explored by nature. There are no longer any surprises. Thats why there are no (or few) sudden upsets in the nature that we see around us.

Doh!

Hello. How does it feel to be retarded? Is it like trying to think while losing consciousness due to hypoxia? Vaguely giddy, yet making no sense?

The human genome has approximately 3 billion base pairs. Permuting this would be 4^3000000000, or 2^6000000000 possibilities. For reference, it is estimated that there are approximately 2^256 particles in the universe. This doesn't even account for the fact that many other organisms have a far larger genome than we do.

Your comment is akin to insinuating that all (most) music has been explored and composed and that no new forms of music could be composed using the musical notes we have. It's patently absurd.

Re:This will be mankinds greatest mark on the worl (1)

Jesrad (716567) | about 2 months ago | (#46957303)

In a hundred years, bigsexyjoeJr will be ranting on ./v3 how in a hundred years the world will be nothing but abandoned cities encased in ice with no life left anywhere.

Re:This will be mankinds greatest mark on the worl (1)

Dasher42 (514179) | about 2 months ago | (#46958491)

In a hundred years, there will be nothing but abandoned cities under flood waters. Humans and many other animals will be dead. But there will be some bacteria with this extra base pair.

That would be one interesting outcome - but in order to replicate, the bacteria needs these proteins that it won't get in nature. Take it outside the lab, and it won't last long. That has intriguing implications.

Re:This will be mankinds greatest mark on the worl (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | about 2 months ago | (#46958989)

In a hundred years, there will be nothing but abandoned cities under flood waters.

You seem unaware that even the worst-case forecasts for AGW don't include enough sea-level rise to do this.

Humans and many other animals will be dead

You also seem unaware that even the worst-case for AGW don't include human extinction either....

Re:This will be mankinds greatest mark on the worl (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | about 2 months ago | (#46960643)

"In a hundred years, there will be nothing but abandoned cities under flood waters" No in the worst case many cities will not have any issues with flooding. Think Denver, Salt Lake City, Chicago, Phoenix, and so on, none are going to flood. ."Humans and many other animals will be dead." Nope that is extremely unlikely. Not impossible but I super unlikely.
"But there will be some bacteria with this extra base pair." Maybe but again not likely.
In other words wll in to crazy.

Can you not? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46956021)

Bacterias are already getting more and more immune to our anti-bacterial agents, we don't need some pseudo scientist making them ever stronger.

Re:Can you not? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46957137)

How's your knee feeling? It must be getting pretty tired by now...

Use the additional base pair for .. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46956095)

How about adding error-correction bits to the genetic code? This would reduce the rate of harmful mutations.

Re: Use the additional base pair for .. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46956363)

This would also prevent beneficial mutations, by the same token

Safe until they evolve a fix (2)

hoggy (10971) | about 2 months ago | (#46957139)

Dr. Romesberg dismissed concern that novel organisms would run amok and cause harm, saying the technique was safe because the synthetic nucleotides were fed to the bacteria. Should the bacteria escape into the environment or enter someone’s body, they would not be able to obtain the needed synthetic material and would either die or revert to using only natural DNA.

Yeah, and we all know how well that worked out with the dinosaurs in Jurassic Park.

Thanks, Obama!

Re:Safe until they evolve a fix (1)

Crookdotter (1297179) | about 2 months ago | (#46957199)

I agree. How did the life on earth develop with very little amino acids available? It happened slowly, over time. A puddle of this bacteria could conceivably grow, absorbing and utilising the needed elements from rocks around the place. That's what life does. Yeah, millions of years, but don't say this can be 100% controlled. Not that I'm concerned either.

Re:Safe until they evolve a fix (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46957267)

On the other hand, there's one significant difference between then and now: Competition. A puddle of this bacteria, in a sterile environment with suitable nutrients, could certainly grow and adapt. But how many nutrient-rich yet otherwise sterile environments are left in the wild?

Re:Safe until they evolve a fix (1)

KingOfBLASH (620432) | about 2 months ago | (#46958299)

Well bacteria DO evolve. We can watch it happen in petri dishes, apply a bit of antibiotic every day, at first only a few colonies will survive but then you'll get a carpet of antibiotic resistant bacteria.

All it takes is the one bacteria who figures out how to synthesize the new protiens and it could go viral (pardon the pun).

Of course, we don't know what would happen. It could cause the end of civilization, or it could just be that DNA is taught as having "an extra base pair in some bacteria do to the oops of 2025"

Re:Safe until they evolve a fix (1)

sudon't (580652) | about 2 months ago | (#46962175)

Kudzu. Just sayin'. And for a novel lifeform, the whole World is its oyster, (or Zebra Mussel), since it would essentially be an invasive species everywhere in the World. The Law of Unintended Consequences, and all that....

Binary is boring, go trinary! (1)

Damian J Pound (3635341) | about 2 months ago | (#46958233)

Now with 1.58x the data per digit!

Re:Binary is boring, go trinary! (2)

Shortguy881 (2883333) | about 2 months ago | (#46961933)

Binary is base 2 (0,1), DNA is base 4 (A,T,G,C), and this new version would be base 6 (A,T,G,C,X,Y). The data storage is astronomically more.

Fantasizing again, are we? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46958629)

The work also gives some support to the concept that life can exist elsewhere in the universe using genetics different from those on Earth.

Seriously? Just because you've altered an already-known-working biological molecule, and it continued to work, you've concluded that alien life is more likely?? That's some degree of desperation!

Nothing to see here (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46958655)

The lead scientist is a chemist, not a molecular biologist.

I happen to be a molecular biologist.

The experiment is I suppose insteresting but the "new life form" has to be spoonfed the modified bases, evidently can't synthesise them itself, and doesn't have the necessary modifications to transcription (makes mRNA from DNA) and translation (assembles proteins from mRNA code) apparatus.

 

no ribosomes to translate into protein (2)

peter303 (12292) | about 2 months ago | (#46959121)

This would be most inert DNA.

Re:no ribosomes to translate into protein (4, Informative)

Goldsmith (561202) | about 2 months ago | (#46959237)

This is the most insightful comment here.

This work is part of the Living Foundries program at DARPA (or at least, related to it). There are collaborating labs working on developing ribosomes to interpret new types of DNA, and other groups working on new amino acids to work with those ribosomes. The whole idea is to change what bio-manufacturing (think fermenting) can do, expanding into materials (drugs, fuels...) existing biology can't work with. This whole effort is going to be going on for many more years.

Re:no ribosomes to translate into protein (1)

Thagg (9904) | about 2 months ago | (#46960251)

Actually, yours is by far the most insightful comment. Please mod up!

Check for New Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...