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!

Photoshop for DNA

Zonk posted more than 9 years ago | from the mix-your-own-nematode dept.

Biotech 208

pafischer writes "Forbes is reporting on a Biotech startup company trying to make DNA manipulation as easy as Photoshop. From the article: 'The goal is to move from having to merely tweak the proteins that are used as biotech drugs to being able to design them, even taking material from multiple organisms and using them to create new, functional genes.'"

cancel ×

208 comments

Oh No! (4, Funny)

justforaday (560408) | more than 9 years ago | (#12704694)

Judging from the quality of some of the Photoshopped images I've seen out there, I really don't want to see what people will create with this...

Re:Oh No! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12704722)

Well, seeing that the current methods of gene manipulation aren't really much different from hackish copy-pasting, I don't really see how it could get any worse.

Ooooooohhhhhh yeeeeaaah!!!! / Duffman (1)

Thud457 (234763) | more than 9 years ago | (#12705141)

"taking material from multiple organisms and using them to create new, functional genes."


I see no possible way how this could lead to trouble. Michael Chrichton will get three or four books outta this one!

Re:Ooooooohhhhhh yeeeeaaah!!!! / Duffman (1)

Golias (176380) | more than 9 years ago | (#12705264)

I see no possible way how this could lead to trouble. Michael Chrichton will get three or four books outta this one!

Two or three of which will be made into crappy blockbusters which will make the person sitting next to you at the coffee shop foolishly consider themselves well-informed on the topic.

Re:Ooooooohhhhhh yeeeeaaah!!!! / Duffman (1)

QuantumLeaper (607189) | more than 9 years ago | (#12705414)

"taking material from multiple organisms and using them to create new, functional genes."

I see no possible way how this could lead to trouble. Michael Chrichton will get three or four books outta this one!

I thought he already got a few books out this, anyone remember Jurassic Park? The added DNA from frogs(?) to complete the DNA for the dinos. Thats why the Dinos could start reproducing.

Re:Oh No! (2, Funny)

Gadgetfreak (97865) | more than 9 years ago | (#12704762)

You'll just get people having a competition for who can manipulate the most amusing biological result.

Although I can't say that was much different than the goals of my friends in high school bio class.

Re:Oh No! (1)

VATechTigger (884976) | more than 9 years ago | (#12704866)

Certainly nothing as good as the DNA sequence I will make with MS Paint........

Everybody knows... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12704956)

Pig and Elephant DNA just won't splice.

Re:Oh No! (3, Funny)

MikeDX (560598) | more than 9 years ago | (#12705083)

DNA?? What on earth does the National Dyxlesia Association have to do with Photoshop???

Re:Oh No! (1)

NanoGator (522640) | more than 9 years ago | (#12705108)

"Judging from the quality of some of the Photoshopped images I've seen out there, I really don't want to see what people will create with this..."

And with the clone tool I made... a monkey with four asses. Huh.

whoa! (1)

professorhojo (686761) | more than 9 years ago | (#12704695)

if this is true then they're probably gonna need this neat photoshop plugin i just found...

Plugin name: DNA (deoxyribose nucleic acid): "The genetic material of inheritance, undoubtedly has the most well-known molecular structure of all time. This tutorial describes how to make it."

http://www.nextdesigns.net/modules.php?name=Photos hop_Tutorials&file=dna [nextdesigns.net]

Re:whoa! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12705030)

Shut up, you smelly old fag!

Oh, great. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12704697)

That's just what we needed -- a bunch of no-good self-proclaimed "genetic engineers" "creating" "new" genes by doing copy-paste hacks.

I say genetics -- just like typography -- should be left for those to do who know what they're doing.

Re:Oh, great. (1)

turtled (845180) | more than 9 years ago | (#12705017)

How about GIMP plugins, Open Source DNA manipulation?

Leave genes to the geneticists (4, Interesting)

drewzhrodague (606182) | more than 9 years ago | (#12705029)

I agree that genes should be left for geneticists, but when your compiler, debugger, and emmulator/simulator check for bad or even icky results, it might actually be fun to toy with genes, in an neat visual way.

At least, I have fantasies about modifying vegetables, fruits, and bugs. I expect that wasps can be reengineered to produce complete reams of laser printer paper, even with a sealed paper wrapper. I expect that ants or cockroaches could be modified to clean your house, better than they do. I expect bacteria or other small folded shapes can be reengineered to spit-out carbon nanotubes, construct simple buildings, or eat trash and grow fuel-cell cartridges.

All this hinges on us being able to effectively "file/print" DNA molecules. It's fun to watch technology accelerate, I am one excited geek.

Re:Leave genes to the geneticists (1)

over_exposed (623791) | more than 9 years ago | (#12705343)

You've been reading Diamond Age [cyberpunk.ru] again, haven't you...

Re:Oh, great. (2, Funny)

Synbiosis (726818) | more than 9 years ago | (#12705031)

"That's just what we needed -- a bunch of no-good self-proclaimed "genetic engineers" "creating" "new" genes by doing copy-paste hacks."

Drew Endy. [mit.edu]

If a professor of Biological Engineering from MIT isn't a genetic engineer, I'd like to know what is.

Re:Oh, great. (1)

Spy der Mann (805235) | more than 9 years ago | (#12705214)

IIRC, an article (was it physorg, or nanoapex?) on genetic engineering software said that genetists used Microsoft Excel to analyse DNA sequences!

(Repeat after me: Genetists, are, not, programmers.)

Re:Oh, great. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12705420)

Yes, they have done so in the past: I know because I was one of them.

Excel is a terrible program/system for genetic analysis if you are a hardcore programmer, but it does offer some serious advantages for those of us that work in a data-saturated field of science, but are not well-versed in computer science.

Excel was very user-friendly when dealing with project leaders and other researchers who aren't very computer saavy. It was widely available on every computer thanks to dependence on Office. Because our routines (using the integrated Visual Basic for Applications) changed daily, the ability to monitor the effects of a program alteration on all levels of analysis was invaluable.

Finally, programming in VB was really simple. In fact, it was almost easy enough to make up for the odd, undocumented eccentricities of VB in Excel. Almost.

If anyone cares, this project involved comparative analysis of genetic expression in pathogenic bacteria under unique growth conditions. It required tracking every gene in triplicate for each growth condition of every replicate, so spreadsheet size was the primary limitation, but even this was manageable. Excel isn't pretty, but it works.

Just an upgrade to the Clone tool (1)

neonfrog (442362) | more than 9 years ago | (#12704702)

Sorry ... sorry ...

Re:Just an upgrade to the Clone tool (1)

Dtyst (790737) | more than 9 years ago | (#12704723)

Stop cloning your words... ;p

Re:Just an upgrade to the Clone tool (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12704947)

Hey, they're reasonable facsimiles.

Plugins! (3, Funny)

jolyonr (560227) | more than 9 years ago | (#12704704)

It's going to be fun writing plugins for this!

Ultra-Sharp-Teeth Plugin

Breathe Underwater Plugin

Bigger Breasts Plugin
Jolyon

Re:Plugins! (1)

PenguinBoyDave (806137) | more than 9 years ago | (#12704788)

What about the "no attitude" plugin?

NOOOOOO! - Cock Tease (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12704826)

Um, let me get this straight... Bigger Breasts and Sharper teeth? What were you thinking?!?!

Re:NOOOOOO! - Cock Tease (1)

PenguinBoyDave (806137) | more than 9 years ago | (#12704853)

How about "removable teath" plugin.

Re:Plugins! (1)

Farmer Tim (530755) | more than 9 years ago | (#12704832)

Or you could just put a pair of falsies on a shark.

Begin the ex-wife jokes...

Re:Plugins! (1)

meatspray (59961) | more than 9 years ago | (#12704972)

Billy!

We're going out for ice cream, do you want to go?

No thanks mom, I just installed a new plugin and I want to play with it for a while.

Re:Plugins! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12705176)

Wash your hands when you're done please.

Re:Plugins! (1)

Brahgam (774597) | more than 9 years ago | (#12705271)

How about the /.ter lover Plugin?

Re:Plugins! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12705367)

They don't have any lovers!

lets hope... (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12704711)

that those tards at fark don't get ahold of this program.

Re:lets hope... (1)

Gillious (723833) | more than 9 years ago | (#12705235)

That's exactly what I thought.. But knowing them, they already have a pirated copy, and are designing thier own squirells with big racks and big sacks. Some of the more lonely memebers may actually be trying to design a girl what would date them. The dissapointment might be worth it in this case.

Photoshop easy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12704712)

Since when?

$42.6 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Ga (1)

guyfromindia (812078) | more than 9 years ago | (#12704718)

Mark me as a FOB (Fan of Bill), but kudos to him and his foundation for their contribution to science....

Re:$42.6 million grant from the Bill & Melinda (1)

justforaday (560408) | more than 9 years ago | (#12704728)

That'd be even worse -- MSPaint for DNA... *shudder*

Re:$42.6 million grant from the Bill & Melinda (2, Funny)

Kainaw (676073) | more than 9 years ago | (#12704796)

Mark me as a FOB (Fan of Bill), but kudos to him and his foundation for their contribution to science...

Of course, he has a motive. He's donating money to help develop a user-friendly gene manipulation tool in hopes that it will cut into the market of the Open Source gene manipulation. Then, when people become dependent on the new gene manipulation, Microsoft will buy the company and merge it with their next version of windows, leaving geeks as the only ones doing gene manipulation the old way (by hand at the console). It always the same with that guy.

Re:$42.6 million grant from the Bill & Melinda (1)

rsynnott (886713) | more than 9 years ago | (#12704924)

For all Microsoft's unethical business behaviour, that foundation does a hell of a lot of good, and Bill should be given credit for it. He's far more generous than a lot of the super-rich.

Re:$42.6 million grant from the Bill & Melinda (1)

fireboy1919 (257783) | more than 9 years ago | (#12705411)

I don't know...a lot of the super-super rich are very generous.

It's been that way since the first super-super rich.

Ever heard of Carnagie Melon university? Or Carnagie hall? Vanderbilt? And yet these men were called robber barons.

The list of generous donations goes on and on for the super-rich.

It's still not as big a sacrifice as me donating $5 to a local charity.

Also, does the good they do outweigh the harm they do to society? Doubtful. It's equally doubtful for most super-rich men. I think it's a way to ease their conscience about all the horrible things they've done.

Re:$42.6 million grant from the Bill & Melinda (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12705139)

Microsoft DNA editor.
Brrrrrr..... So scarry... All these blue creatures.

Re:$42.6 million grant from the Bill & Melinda (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12705185)

Mark me as a FOB (Fan of Bill)

Usually people say "Friend of Bill".

Writing off business expenses as charity. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12705244)

Bill Gates uses "charity" donations as a marketing tool.

Remember those "computer for classroooms" "charity" writeoffs?

If the average Joe tried to "give" money to an organization that turned around and gave it back to him and then he wrote it off as charity, then he'd be in a federal "pound them in the ass" prison.

Taxes truly are for the little people.

bad article summary from bad article title (4, Informative)

geoffspear (692508) | more than 9 years ago | (#12704725)

The title of the linked article is the only part that even mentions Photoshop. Nowhere in the article does anyone claim that the process would be as easy as using Photoshop, or any other software programming.

They do compare the advance in genetic manipulation to the difference between editing with Wite-Out and editing with a word processor, but that's what we call an analogy. They're not claiming that producing genes would be something anyone with no training can do with their home computer.

Re:bad article summary from bad article title (1)

Farmer Tim (530755) | more than 9 years ago | (#12704902)

Curses! My plans for creating a race of radioactive supermen to conquer the world are foiled again.

I'll get you next time, Mister Spear!!!

*escapes in emergency hovercraft*

Re:bad article summary from bad article title (2, Informative)

Otter (3800) | more than 9 years ago | (#12705251)

What the company seems to do is this:

Currently, it's easy to 1) amplify large chunks of DNA verbatim and 2) change individual nucleotides. What is difficult is making large blocks of novel or heavily modified sequence, as it's expensive or impossible to synthesize them from nucleotides. Codon Devices seems to have a way to generate large chunks of customized sequence.

How important that turns out to be, we'll see, but the company does have some really smart people behind it. Anyway, that's how I understand it to work -- feel free to contribute a better analogy.

Good news for OJ (1)

theantipop (803016) | more than 9 years ago | (#12704738)

So this is how they framed OJ with all that DNA "evidence".

Re:Good news for OJ (1)

Nytewynd (829901) | more than 9 years ago | (#12704803)

No. In that case, they photoshoped a picture on him and added a knife to his hand.

Re:Good news for OJ (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12705189)

Actually, they photoshopped him to look more black.


Why do you think Michael Jackson is trying to look like a Mormon?

Dislexia is such a drag (1)

RealProgrammer (723725) | more than 9 years ago | (#12704741)

The first time I read
even taking material from multiple organisms and using them to create new, functional genes.

I thought, "what do multiple orgasms have to do with DNA research?"

Re:Dislexia is such a drag (3, Funny)

justforaday (560408) | more than 9 years ago | (#12704770)

"what do multiple orgasms have to do with DNA research?"

Quite a bit, actually... : p

orgasms and DNA research (2, Funny)

doublem (118724) | more than 9 years ago | (#12704909)

I thought, "what do multiple orgasms have to do with DNA research?"

Oh that's easy.

Every woman will have not one G-spot but four, one of which will be at the back of the throat.

Every man will have a unit built from horse DNA.

And don't forget, everyone will be multi orgasmic!

Reinforced back muscles to support the standard DD chest. (That's the small model)

And of course, everyone will have a FANTASTIC rump.

And then King George W Bush will get wind of this and have everyone's DNA rewritten to be more moral. All pleasure will be taken out of sex, women will be programmed to be subservient to their husbands and submission to authority will be enhanced to the point where average citizens will shoot themselves in the head if anyone in uniform asks them to do so.

And the Conservative Christian utopia will come to be.

Re:orgasms and DNA research (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12705011)

Amen to that...

Re:Dislexia is such a drag (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12705362)

That's where they get DNA from. The more orgasms, the more DNA!

Gimp (4, Funny)

suso (153703) | more than 9 years ago | (#12704753)

How about making it as easy as Gimp instead. I like the interface better.

*Ducks*

Re:Gimp (2, Funny)

BandwidthHog (257320) | more than 9 years ago | (#12704786)

Yeah, but it won't be able to manipulate the Y Khromosome.

GDMP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12704955)

D is for DNA.

People made by Photoshop newbs... (1)

i64X (582393) | more than 9 years ago | (#12704754)

I wonder what happens when you put a LENS FLARE in the genes of a dog... or a LENS FLARE in the genes of a camel... or a LENS FLARE...

Re:People made by Photoshop newbs... (1)

justforaday (560408) | more than 9 years ago | (#12704800)

"Let's see...Desaturate this a bit. Use the smudge tool over here...Hey look! Michael Jackson!"

Re:People made by Photoshop newbs... (1)

i64X (582393) | more than 9 years ago | (#12704944)

"You're all ignorant... that Adjustment Layer was just to help my breathin..."

Open Source will respond! (1)

PixelSlut (620954) | more than 9 years ago | (#12704760)

We'll make a GIMP for DNA, and rule the world! It'll run on more platforms too: all variants of primates, birds, farm animals, and Slashdot nerds. :)

Re:Open Source will respond! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12704829)

GIMP for DNA isn't ready for the desktop!!!

The reasons for this are many and...

Aw, to hell with it.

Re:Open Source will respond! (1)

Exluddite (851324) | more than 9 years ago | (#12704931)

I'm a big fan of open source software. Somehow I'm not as enthusiastic about Open source bioengineering...

multiple organisms (1)

tod_miller (792541) | more than 9 years ago | (#12704772)

"multiple organisms"

I almost had a blockbusters [ukgameshows.com] moment there...

What a suprise they removed the dumbass human-check. a-holes. Finished reading "Dumb ideas for dummies" have you?

Finally! (1)

ch-chuck (9622) | more than 9 years ago | (#12704776)

designer genes.

DRMNA? (1)

MadRocketScientist (792254) | more than 9 years ago | (#12705348)

I own the rights to the "forever-perky breasts" gene sequence. In lieu of a cash royalties, I am willing to negotiate other forms of payment from all persons posessing this gene.

Easy? (1)

Luguber123 (203502) | more than 9 years ago | (#12704795)

DNA manipulation as easy as Photoshop Have these peoples even tried Photoshop recently?

Re:Easy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12704861)

Well... try to do the same thing WITHOUT Photoshop... then you'll have an idea.

create? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12704799)

using them to create new, functional genes

Silly, everyone know DNA can't be created, it has to evolve. Otherwise we would have proof of organisms with intelligent design.

Saw this in Star Trek Voyager (1)

Stonent1 (594886) | more than 9 years ago | (#12704817)

Torres was trying to remove the brow ridges from her fetus using something like that.

Photoshop NOT easy enough (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12704838)

If they come up with Frontpage for DNA, I just might become an investor. I'm also moving to another planet just to be safe. What is the DNA equivalent to the blink tag?

great (1)

Abstract_Me (799786) | more than 9 years ago | (#12704847)

now every person, animal, and plant will have a lens flare

Photoshop? (1)

Nytewynd (829901) | more than 9 years ago | (#12704850)

They are writing a program to compute the results of manipulating genes. How does that relate to photoshop, other than there will probably be a picture you edit using your mouse. That is like saying Autocad and Photoshop are the same since you are creating pretty pictures in both.

If they pull this off, it has way more to do with biology and math than the interface they use. Not to mention that even if this application simulates gene manipulation, they will still have to do the same thing by hand to test it. It's not like it can remove the actual testing of the end result.

Oh Fark (1)

Gudlyf (544445) | more than 9 years ago | (#12704856)

I can't begin to imagine the DNAShop contests that will happen on Fark [fark.com] or Something Awful [somethingawful.com] ...

Re:Oh Fark (1)

ArAgost (853804) | more than 9 years ago | (#12704970)

I can't begin to imagine the DNAShop contests that will happen on Fark or Something Awful...
The latter site is going to be renamed "Someone Awful" to fit the new artistic direction.

Photoshop for DNA gets released... (1)

J Barnes (838165) | more than 9 years ago | (#12704858)

onslaught of fake nude DNA ensues.

One Hell of a plugin.... (1)

JaF893 (745419) | more than 9 years ago | (#12704883)

...Imagine if you could photochop your DNA.

X-ray vision here I come!!!

OMG (1)

Timesprout (579035) | more than 9 years ago | (#12704884)

And as OS races to catch up with this new Photoshop feature can you imagine some of the freaks that will be created at people struggle with the GIMPs interface. Now I understand why they called it gimp.

"easy" as photoshop? (1)

yotto (590067) | more than 9 years ago | (#12704915)

Wake me when they've got it so it's as easy as Blender.

Why does this sound like a very, very bad idea? (1)

Botunda (621804) | more than 9 years ago | (#12704926)

A lot of people have photoshop... doesn't mean they know how to use it properly!

Re:Why does this sound like a very, very bad idea? (1)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 9 years ago | (#12705048)

A lot of people have photoshop... doesn't mean they know how to use it properly!

Or that they paid for it. Oh, wait, different thread.

This is the (relatively) easy part (2, Interesting)

G4from128k (686170) | more than 9 years ago | (#12704939)

Designing DNA to create a given protein is no big deal. The hardest problem is figuring out how the new gene/protein will act inside the organism. Biological systems don't have a nice layered OSI model for what connects to what -- its like nearly everything is a global-accessible variable so side-effects are a real problem. New drugs require huge amounts of R&D in the testing phase, not the synthesis phase.

I'd be more impressed if someone created an accurate in silico system for testing new drugs, rather than just designing new DNA sequences that MIGHT make useful new proteins that MIGHT make a useful new drug.

Re:This is the (relatively) easy part (2, Interesting)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 9 years ago | (#12705034)

If you could do that the next step would be using genetic algorithms. You just plug in what you want to happen and then let the computer run test after test.
could get freaking scary.

Re:This is the (relatively) easy part (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12705341)

I knew my CS profs were wrong. Even God (or evolution, let's not go there) uses global variables!

Surely Photoshop is the wrong analogy (1)

vevva (693964) | more than 9 years ago | (#12704958)

Other than being a computer application in which you can "do things" the choice of Photoshop as the analogous software tool seems to be picked entirely at random, and a lazy choice.

A more appropriate pick would probably been from under the CAD umbrella, or string manipulation tools like lex.

Hell, maybe even:

vi dna.txt

Photoshop me teeth like sharks have... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12704960)

I don't mean the shape and colour, but the ability to grow lost tooth over and over again...
When I asked about this idea my dentist, he did not think that it would be such a good idea... for him, personally - of course.

Easy as Photoshop (1)

ndansmith (582590) | more than 9 years ago | (#12704997)

Is editing genes something we want to make easier? I shudder to think of do-it-yourself genetic engineering kits.

an explanation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12705006)

DNA is a linear arramgnement of 4 letters - the bases A T G C. A molecule of DNA has some particular arrangement of the letters. E.g., an "8mer" molecule would be AGCTTCGC (there are 8^4 possible 8mers)
typically you need ~ 1,000 - 100,000 letters in a molecule to get bio function
right now, conventional synthesis, completely in vitro, from many companies (eg, www.idtdna.com; www.biosearchtech.com, etc) will make molecules with up to ~ 100 bases, so you need some subsequent set of (tedious manual) operations to put the "100 mers" together into bio active 1,000 mers.

So, if you could synthesize in vitro a 1,000 mer direrctly, you would save some time.

Very similar to being able to put results from multiple programs into a layout program - the ability to do a lot of things in a uniform enviroment saves tedious manual layout, where you have to manually assemble the word processor output with the pictures and graphics.

The market for synthetic DNA is known, so this is really an engineering problem, how to automate and roboticize a known chemical engineering process.

NOthing whatsoever to do with software, and the photoshop analogy sucks

Grand Theft Auto for DNA (1)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 9 years ago | (#12705022)

Guys, with the new GTA:DNA, you can walk up to a sexy celebrity stud and jack their DNA. You too can be a vapid, overpaid prick and have television cameras point at you when you babble senselessly about geopolitical paradigms of which you lack even a basic conceptual understanding!

Gals, with GTA:DNA, you can walk up to a sexy celebrity starlet and, well, actually, all you can do is find out what they really look like under all that make up, plastic surgery, silicone, botox and advanced composite materials. Sorry.

Reserve your copy now! Will be available sometime after Longhorn is released.

But that's proprietary (1)

bigredradio (631970) | more than 9 years ago | (#12705025)

I'll wait for the "Easy as GNU/Gimp or GNU/KolourPaint".

This is nothing - we design genes all the time (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 9 years ago | (#12705049)

In fact, a friend of mine did two major variants just this quarter at the Baker labs down the hall, one with a luminescent rocker switch and one with a ligand-activated toggle.

Just making it all pretty doesn't mean you know what it will do. It's more important to understand how it will work and how the whole chain will be impacted than it does being able to just visualize it.

clone droplet... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12705075)

but would it be able to create a droplet for star destroyers or death stars?

Ain't gonna happen (4, Insightful)

nanoakron (234907) | more than 9 years ago | (#12705089)

Hate to say it, but this sounds like a pipedream. They want to 'take the proteins and tweak them' an dthen have a computer program spit out the DNA required to make that protein.

Well whoop-de-do. I'd like to make a computer that can generate wormholes. Doesn't mean it's going to happen.

Firstly, protein modelling is notoriously complex. Remember folding@home? http://folding.stanford.edu/ [stanford.edu]
That's right - hundreds of thousands of computers cracking the problem of 12 amino acid chains. That's an oligopeptide, sort of like a 'protein lite'. Real proteins are hundreds to thousands of amino acids long.

IBM's Blue Gene supercomputers were even specifically designed with protein folding simulations in mind - read http://www.research.ibm.com/bluegene/ [ibm.com] .

So this company seems to be doing the following

1 Come up with nifty, but blindingly obvious, idea
2 Crack the age-old problem of accurately simulating protein folding
3 Profit!!!

It's just that step one is literally so obvious that you could ask a kid. And step 2 is so notoriously complex that I don't expect this company to amount to anything more than a plughole for research grants.

-Nano.

Re:Ain't gonna happen (1)

nanoakron (234907) | more than 9 years ago | (#12705253)

Oops...some other really tough problems they'll also have to solve along the way:

1 - Synthesising DNA chains more than 1,000bp long in one go...not easy. http:/// [http] http://www.dna.biosource.com/> Even long-established companies can't put together more than a few dozen basepairs in a custom chain.

2 - Eukaryotic proteins require chaperonins to assist folding. Which chaperonin goes where and when to help which part of folding? Noone really knows. Good luck solving that one. http://www.chaperone.sote.hu/Examples.html [chaperone.sote.hu]

3 - Glycosylation and post-translational modification. That's right, you've now got to solve the species specific addition of sugars and other bits and pieces to your newly synthesised protein. We can almost do it in hamsters...nice try in humans. I'll give you 10 years solid research at the least. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd= Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_uids=8063726&dopt=Abstract [nih.gov] - just one of many original research papers on this huge topic.

So this ain't gonna happen any time soon. Photoshop for proteins? Sure, just like etch-a-sketch for car manufacturing.

-Nano.

Re:Ain't gonna happen (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12705323)

You forgot an important step in your business plan:

1.5 Compare your idea to a completely unrelated, but well-known and cool technology, so that ignorant people will give you research money.

No photoshop but programming language (1)

La Gris (531858) | more than 9 years ago | (#12705097)

There is a better parallel with CAD programs than, with art design tools like Photoshop.

A better even better parallel could be with languages and toolkits.

Consider DNA as a binary code
Consider RNA memory access lines
Consider Ribosomes as the processing units.

Let"s add a DNA code assembler and a high level language to design the DNA code, access protocols and interactions vith chemicals input / output.

Use real cells as factory or use nanotechnology.

Old news (1)

Rorschach1 (174480) | more than 9 years ago | (#12705225)

Are you kidding? This has been shipping with the default load of MovieOS [everything2.com] for YEARS!

RE: PhotoShop for DNA (1)

MrCopilot (871878) | more than 9 years ago | (#12705294)

He's dead man, what an insensitive gift. He needs like, reanimator, or something.

At last! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12705318)

...I get to make that chrome-effect frog I've always wanted. Cool!!!

dreamgirl (1)

ZeroExistenZ (721849) | more than 9 years ago | (#12705416)

Now I can photoshop my dreamgirl *for real*

This is AutoCAD for DNA... (1)

stankulp (69949) | more than 9 years ago | (#12705434)

...not PhotoShop for DNA.
Load More 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...