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Biotech Science Technology

New Cell-To-Cell Communication Process Could Revolutionize Bioengineering 49

Zothecula writes "The internet has revolutionized global communications and now researchers at Stanford University are looking to provide a similar boost to bioengineering with a new process dubbed "Bi-Fi." The technology uses an innocuous virus called M13 to increase the complexity and amount of information that can be sent from cell to cell. The researchers say the Bi-Fi could help bio-engineers create complex, multicellular communities that work together to carry out important biological functions."
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New Cell-To-Cell Communication Process Could Revolutionize Bioengineering

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  • Am I the only one who sees this in the first 3 minutes of a movie, followed by a scene with a caption "6 months later...".
    • Yes. I can also hear Blue Oyster Cult playing "don't fear the reaper" in my head. M-O-O-N, that spells bad idea, laws yes
  • Hope it works better than Bluetooth.
  • by gestalt_n_pepper ( 991155 ) on Monday October 01, 2012 @01:55PM (#41515757)

    Except perhaps, a population of schizoid zombies, giant mutant blue babies, or and army of 4-armed, forewarned lawyers.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Sounds dangerous.

  • Now we are going to have spam at the cellular level
  • With a name like "Bi-Fi", and an article summary that includes the phrase "Bi-Fi could help bio-engineers create complex, multicellular communities that work together to carry out important biological functions", I knew immediately that this technology was created in California.
  • The russian versions are malware, and will reprogram your dna to send them your banking info.
  • by bipbop ( 1144919 ) on Monday October 01, 2012 @02:14PM (#41516001)
    Honestly, I'll wait until I hear something about research from Stanford. Standford isn't nearly as reputable, IMO.
  • How does this work in the metal foil wrapper?

    Are they made from beef or pork?

  • Zombie apocalypse in 3... 2... 1...

  • Sounds... like the same things we've been doing with designer viruses for decades. Unless they've got additional material they've developed to facilitate direct transmission of DNA from one cell to another or mastered a process whereby continual production can be done without threat to the host or in a manner that can be easily extinguished I don't see what it is that they've added other than a term "Bi-Fi" (which is a cute term, I admit). Not knocking on the idea, it's just not clear what's new about it.
    • by Turbio ( 1814644 )
      Yeah... it's a method from the last century. It's called transduction (, and it is routinely used at the microbiology lab. The new approach here is the idea of using it for communication. But communication needs to be both ways, and they implemented just one way. For making cells react to certain stimulus, it's way better to bioengineer them adding the corresponding membrane receptor and required pathway. And the problem with using phages in this ca
  • So this is a good reason to commit to a manned mission to Mars, and permanent habitation on the Moon.

    Bear with me. I am not advocating doing this on either celestial body.

    First, a manned mission to Mars will teach us a lot about long-term operations in space, and this will come in handy.

    Second, permanent presence on the Moon will teach us more about long-term operations, handy in this scenario:

    - From the Moon, build a flying lab. In this lab, we can do long-term research into such genetics and biology.
    - If

    • by EdIII ( 1114411 )

      LMFAO. You're a riot.

      Ground Control - Bob? Bob you there?
      Bob - Bob here. What's going on ground control. We got all kinds of alarms going off up here.
      Ground Control - We got confirmation from the sensors that g237 escaped containment and you might be infected. You're on lock down right now and I've ordered a flight plan to break orbit around Deimos and head for the Sun. SOP, you understand.
      Bob - Wait, what?
      Ground Control - SOP. Standard Operating Procedure, Bob. Keep up.
      Bob - I know what the fuck i

      • Actually, I would expect the corporate/educational sponsors to figure out how to get them turned around and put into high orbit while they figure out how to get the wayward samples to Earth for explotation.

        Think 'Alien'. If there's a Ripley on board, we may survive.

  • Welcome our new viral overlords!

  • I foresee a trademark process, unless their method involves a mini-salami. :-)

  • This sounds exactly like the technique used by renegade biochemist Vergil Ulam in Greg Bear's Blood Music []. The Wikipedia article does not mention the fact that the protagonist's bio-engineered creations used tame viruses to communicate. It's always funny how science fiction becomes science fact; I just hope we do not make the same mistakes.

MESSAGE ACKNOWLEDGED -- The Pershing II missiles have been launched.