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First Bacterial Genome Transplantation Changing One Species to Another

Researchers at the J. Craig Venter Institute (JCVI) today announced the results of work on genome transplantation methods allowing them to transform one type of bacteria into another type dictated by the transplanted chromosome.

The work, published online in the journal Science, by JCVI's Carole Lartigue, Ph.D. and colleagues, outlines the methods and techniques used to change one bacterial species, Mycoplasma capricolum into another, Mycoplasma mycoides Large Colony (LC), by replacing one organism's genome with the other one's genome.

"The successful completion of this research is important because it is one of the key proof of principles in synthetic genomics that will allow us to realize the ultimate goal of creating a synthetic organism," said J. Craig Venter, Ph.D., president and chairman, JCVI.

"We are committed to this research as we believe that synthetic genomics holds great promise in helping to solve issues like climate change and in developing new sources of energy."

Methods and techniques>
The JCVI team devised several key steps to enable the genome transplantation. First, an antibiotic selectable marker gene was added to the M. mycoides LC chromosome to allow for selection of living cells containing the transplanted chromosome.

Then the team purified the DNA or chromosome from M. mycoides LC so that it was free from proteins (called naked DNA). This M. mycoides LC chromosome was then transplanted into the M. capricolum cells.

After several rounds of cell division, the recipient M. capricolum chromosome disappeared having been replaced by the donor M. mycoides LC chromosome, and the M. capricolum cells took on all the phenotypic characteristics of M. mycoides LC cells.

As a test of the success of the genome transplantation, the team used two methods -- 2D gel electrophoresis and protein sequencing, to prove that all the expressed proteins were now the ones co
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