For more than half a century scientists have looked on the DNA molecule as life’s blueprint. Now biological engineers are beginning to see the molecule not as a static plan, but more like a snippet of life’s computer code that they can program.
Penn State researchers are unraveling the mystery of how nature codes and recodes this program to address some of the world’s biggest challenges, says Howard Salis, assistant professor of biological engineering and chemical engineering.
“You can engineer DNA to reprogram the metabolism of simple organisms and you can program them to make what you want, or to make it more efficiently, says Salis. “The trick is to understand how the organism interprets its DNA, and then to optimize new DNA sequences to rationally control its behavior.”
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