Synthetic Biology Promises Risk and Reward

In May 2010, researchers at the J. Craig Venter Institute announced the creation of the world's first synthetic organism—a bacterial host cell whose self-replicating genome was human-made. This momentous achievement raises questions regarding the potential risks and benefits of synthesizing genomes, and eventually, organisms. According to proponents, synthetic biology offers great promise. Some scientists suggest that the emerging field could lead to advancements in individualized medicine, more efficient vaccine and drug production, new renewable energy sources, higher-yielding and more sustainable crops, and organisms that can remediate harmful chemicals in the environment. Synthetic biology is also widely acknowledged to have the potential to adversely affect human health, the environment, and national security. The possibility for unintended environmental effects concerns Allison Snow, a professor in the Department of Evolution, Ecology, and Organismal Biology at the Ohio State University. Uncontrolled escape of synthetic organisms and the rise of new invasive species are a few of the threats, according to Snow. Given the risks, synthetic organisms will need to be thoroughly evaluated before they are moved outside contained facilities. "Ecological research takes time and funding," Snow said during a public presentation on synthetic biology in July 2010. "This is why risk assessment research shouldn't be left for the last minute. It should go in tand...
Source: Washington Watch - Category: Biology Authors: Source Type: news

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This article updates our laboratory's systematic search for antigens using bioinformatics tools to clarify the Mtb H37Rv Rv3632 protein's topology and location. This article reports a C-terminal region consisting of peptides 39255 and 39256 (81Thr-Arg114) having high specific binding regarding two infection-related cell lines (A549 and U937); they inhibited mycobacterial entry to U937 cells in a concentration-dependent manner. Rv3632 forms part of the mycobacterial cell envelope, formed by six linear synthetic peptides. Circular dichroism enabled determining the protein's secondary structure. It was also found that peptide...
Source: Biomed Res - Category: Research Authors: Tags: Biomed Res Int Source Type: research
[Nation] Kenya is on course in the immunisation of 800,000 girls against cervical cancer, Health Cabinet Secretary Sicily Kariuki has said, and allayed fears about the safety of the vaccine.
Source: AllAfrica News: Health and Medicine - Category: African Health Source Type: news
(University of Maryland) In the first study of public health-related Facebook advertising, newly published in the journal Vaccine, researchers at the University of Maryland, the George Washington University and Johns Hopkins University show that a small group of anti-vaccine ad buyers has successfully leveraged Facebook to reach targeted audiences and that the social media platform's efforts to improve transparency have actually led to the removal of ads promoting vaccination and communicating scientific findings.
Source: EurekAlert! - Medicine and Health - Category: International Medicine & Public Health Source Type: news
Publication date: 12 November 2019Source: Cell Reports, Volume 29, Issue 7Author(s): Colin Havenar-Daughton, Diane G. Carnathan, Archana V. Boopathy, Amit A. Upadhyay, Ben Murrell, Samantha M. Reiss, Chiamaka A. Enemuo, Etse H. Gebru, Yury Choe, Pallavi Dhadvai, Federico Viviano, Kirti Kaushik, Jinal N. Bhiman, Bryan Briney, Dennis R. Burton, Steven E. Bosinger, William R. Schief, Darrell J. Irvine, Guido Silvestri, Shane CrottySummaryThe first immunization in a protein prime-boost vaccination is likely to be critical for how the immune response unfolds. Using fine needle aspirates (FNAs) of draining lymph nodes (LNs), we ...
Source: Cell Reports - Category: Cytology Source Type: research
Volume 47, Issue 1, December 2019, Page 4182-4193 .
Source: Artificial Cells, Blood Substitutes, and Biotechnology - Category: Biotechnology Authors: Source Type: research
Publication date: Available online 13 November 2019Source: Veterinary MicrobiologyAuthor(s): Linlin Li, Yun Zhang, Jiawen Dong, Junqing Zhang, Chunhong Zhang, Minhua Sun, Yongchang CaoAbstractDuck Tembusu virus (DTMUV) is a major pathogen of duck industry in China. In the current study, we generated different constructs containing envelope (E) protein, pre-membrane-envelope (prM-E) protein, and C-terminally truncated E protein of the DTMUV. The constructed proteins could induce specific antibody responses in young ducks. When ducklings were immunized with the constructed proteins, they were 100% protected against DTMUV inf...
Source: Veterinary Microbiology - Category: Veterinary Research Source Type: research
Publication date: Available online 13 November 2019Source: PeptidesAuthor(s): Nigel Irwin, Victor A. Gault, Finbarr P.M. O’Harte, Peter R. FlattAbstractGastric inhibitory polypeptide (GIP) is a 42 amino acid hormone secreted from intestinal K-cells in response to nutrient ingestion. Despite a recognised physiological role for GIP as an insulin secretagogue to control postprandial blood glucose levels, growing evidence reveals important actions of GIP on adipocytes and promotion of fat deposition in tissues. As such, blockade of GIP receptor (GIPR) action has been proposed as a means to counter insulin resistance, and...
Source: Peptides - Category: Biochemistry Source Type: research
The smallpox vaccine has eradicated the potentially deadly disease. Anyone who has received this vaccination may notice that it left a scar. Learn more in this article.
Source: Health News from Medical News Today - Category: Consumer Health News Tags: Infectious Diseases / Bacteria / Viruses Source Type: news
A second Ebola vaccine is to be offered to thousands of people in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Source: BBC News | Health | UK Edition - Category: Consumer Health News Source Type: news
Publication date: Available online 12 November 2019Source: Preventive MedicineAuthor(s): Michelle I. Silver, Sarah KobrinAbstractThe human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine is a powerful tool in cancer prevention. In combination with cervical cancer screening programs, this vaccine has the potential to nearly eliminate death from cervical cancer. However, this remarkable public health success can only be realized if vaccines reach those most at risk—unscreened women. Vaccinating only those already well-screened would have little impact on cervical cancer mortality, exacerbate disparities, and be a striking public health f...
Source: Preventive Medicine - Category: International Medicine & Public Health Source Type: research
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