For the first time, Swiss scientists have obtained a working genetic code developed by a computer. It is based on the decrypted genome of the bacterium Caulobacter crescentus, which has undergone deep optimization. Now it exists in the form of a computer model, according to which test individual DNA molecules are assembled. If you put them in the right conditions, a new, man-made life will be born.
The first successes in digital editing of the genome were obtained ten years ago, by a team led by geneticist Craig Venter. As then, scientists today take the original complex genome, which is known to contain "junk DNA", and try to "optimize" its architecture. In the same bacterium C. Crescentus, out of 4000 genes, only 680 are of real significance. Therefore, experts simply removed the "unnecessary" to see what happens.
And even such a truncated genome can be reduced further, given that the same effect or function is encoded by different sequences of amino acids that can be reduced. The merit of the Swiss is that they have developed an algorithm by which the computer calculated the "ideal DNA", the volume of which is 6 times less than the original. It is completely different from the original version, but performs the same basic functions.
For testing, scientists grew bacteria with elements of real and synthetic DNA, after which they began to "turn off" the original genes. The body switched to the use of artificial ones and supported the work of basic functions - nutrition, reproduction, protection. There is no talk of a complete replacement of DNA yet, out of 680 "updated" genes, only 540 have worked, but already in the genome of version 3.0, scientists promise to fix all the flaws. And then, in theory, it will be possible to create synthetic life forms with strictly specified properties.