And this is the commercial they watch:
I, for one, welcome our new 21-amino-acid worm overlords. and their friends the gasoline-shitting bacteria.
Just 20 amino acids are used in natural living organisms, assembled in different combinations to make the tens of thousands of different proteins needed to sustain life. But Sebastian Greiss and Jason Chin have re-engineered the nematode worm's gene-reading machinery to include a 21st amino acid, not found in nature.
At Scripps, researchers showed in a paper in PNAS how one of those three letter words could be re-assigned, so that cells would read it as an instruction to incorporate an unnatural amino acid, one not normally found in living organisms. But that was in the bacterium E. coli; until now, no one had succeeded in doing the same in a whole animal.
So far it is just a proof of principle - the artificial protein that is produced in every cell of the nematode worm's tiny body contains a fluorescent dye that glows cherry red under ultraviolet light. If the genetic trick failed, there would be no glow.
But Dr Chin says any artificial amino acid could be chosen to produce specific new properties. Dr de Bono suggests the approach could now be used to introduce into organisms designer proteins that could be controlled by light.
Researchers unveiled a new method for rapidly converting simple glucose into biofuels and petrochemical substitutes. In a paper published online in Nature, Rice's team described how it reversed one of the most efficient of all metabolic pathways -- the beta oxidation cycle -- to engineer bacteria that produce biofuel at a breakneck pace.
On a cell-per-cell basis, the bacteria produced the butanol, a biofuel that can be substituted for gasoline in most engines, about 10 times faster than any previously reported organism. "That's really not even a fair comparison because the other organisms used an expensive, enriched feedstock, and we used the cheapest thing you can imagine, just glucose and mineral salts."
Gonzalez's team reversed the beta oxidation cycle by selectively manipulating about a dozen genes in E. coli. They also showed that selective manipulations of particular genes could be used to produce fatty acids of particular lengths, including long-chain molecules like stearic acid and palmitic acid, which have chains of more than a dozen carbon atoms.
"This is not a one-trick pony," Gonzalez said. "We can make many kinds of specialized molecules for many different markets. We can also do this in any organism. Some producers prefer to use industrial organisms other than E. coli, like algae or yeast. That's another advantage of using reverse-beta oxidation, because the pathway is present in almost every organism."
In the research published Wednesday, doctors at the University of Pennsylvania say the treatment made the most common type of leukemia completely disappear in two of the patients and reduced it by 70 percent in the third. In each of the patients as much as five pounds of cancerous tissue completely melted away in a few weeks, and a year later it is still gone.
In the Penn experiment, the researchers removed certain types of white blood cells that the body uses to fight disease from the patients. Using a modified, harmless version of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, they inserted a series of genes into the white blood cells. These were designed to make to cells target and kill the cancer cells. After growing a large batch of the genetically engineered white blood cells, the doctors injected them back into the patients.
As the white cells killed the cancer cells, the patients experienced the fevers and aches and pains that one would expect when the body is fighting off an infection, but beyond that the side effects have been minimal.