How to overclock a (biological) cell

By | March 29, 2012
It seems that researchers at UCSF have figured out how 'SetCPU' works for cells: 'redundant' codons are not actually redundant. The 'redundant' information tells the cell how fast to produce protein. So swap the redundant codon, and tada! Cell speed adjusted, mission accomplished.

That opens the door to a lot of possibilities:

1. It explains what we need to tell adenoviruses to 'fix' in order to deliver a cure for cancer. Now for the hard part: we need to figure out how to do that without unwanted side effects by 'false matches' being replaced.

2. It means we know what to look for to get genetically modified bacteria that are used for the production of things like penecillin or various food additives to be more efficient at producing what we want: twiddle the 'overclock' codon. Maybe Monsanto will start agressively patenting these genes too, not just plant genes, in order to drive the pharma industry up the wall.

3. If we ever get far enough to use biological computers for general computing, we know how to overclock them. The only problem is that it's not something you can do at home – at least, not unless you are a genetic researcher and genetic virus builder / hacker.

4. Just wondering… but maybe this would also be the secret to building organisms (and possibly also people) who age slower because all their cells have slower metabolism.

/via +Nils Hitze

More details, for those who understand biology as it's more technical than the average person likely can understand: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2012-03/uoc–nlo032812.php

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