Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Biotech United Kingdom Science

Scientists Modify Organism With Artificial Amino Acid 149

Posted by timothy
from the warm-glow-of-the-worms dept.
IndigoDarkwolf writes "The Beeb reports that biologists Sebastian Greiss and Jason Chin have genetically modified a multicellular organism (Caenorhabditis elegans, a tiny worm) to combine an amino acid not found in nature into a custom-built protein. The protein created by their genetically-modified worm contained a dye which glows when exposed to UV light. While previous work showed that genetic modification could incorporate non-natural amino acids into custom proteins for single-celled organisms, this is the first time an entire animal has been modified."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Scientists Modify Organism With Artificial Amino Acid

Comments Filter:
  • Re:Prior art? (Score:5, Informative)

    by interkin3tic (1469267) on Thursday August 11, 2011 @08:38PM (#37064260)
    The breakthrough here is not artificial biological fluorescence, which has been around for a long time. The breakthrough is also not that this is a fluorescent amino acid (as opposed to full proteins made up of many amino acids, like GFP, which is again what you're talking about), evidently those have been demonstrated for a few years. This is tricking an organism into -using- an artificial amino acid, a fluorescent one.

    Being able to incorporate fluorescent amino acids into a protein -looks- pretty striking, but people have been able to get cells to attach a fluorescent protein onto other proteins for years. The fluorescence here was just an easy assay to tell if they had gotten the c elegans to use a different, entirely artificial building block. Fluorescent amino acids may turn out to be the biggest use for this discovery, but the real story here is that we have a new tool, not that the tool can be used to make organisms glow.

"We learn from history that we learn nothing from history." -- George Bernard Shaw

Working...