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Recreating natural complex gene regulation
Date:2/3/2013

sts in all areas of biomedical research. However because of the complexity of this natural system, synthetic biologists create simple gene networks to have precise control over each component. These scientists can use these networks for applications in biosensing, biocomputation, or regenerative medicine, or can use them as models to study the more complex natural systems.

"This new system can be a powerful new approach for probing the fundamental mechanisms of natural gene regulation that are currently poorly understood," Perez-Pinera said. "In this way, we can further the capacity of synthetic biology and biological programming in mammalian systems."

The latest discoveries were made possible by using a new technology for building synthetic proteins known as transcription activator-like effectors (TALEs), which are artificial enzymes that can be engineered to "bind" to almost any gene sequences. Since these TALEs can be easily produced, the researchers were able to make many of them to control specific genes.

"All biological systems depend on gene regulation," Gersbach said. "The challenge facing bioengineering researchers is trying to synthetically recreate processes that occur in nature."


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Contact: Richard Merritt
richard.merritt@duke.edu
919-660-8414
Duke University
Source:Eurekalert  

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