scientists publish on Nature
Atactic scientists report
in Nature (
December 23, 2004
) and Nucleic Acids Research (
October 11, 2004
) that they have developed a gene synthesis technology that enables high
throughput, low cost synthesis of DNA of any user defined sequences.
This research was the result of an interdisciplinary collaboration
involving Professors George Church (
), and Xiaolian Gao (
); the technological development is to meet the increasing demand of
gene/DNA sequences in this genomics and proteomics era.
The scientists achieved simultaneously assembling of multiple genes and a
record length of 14.6 kbp DNA from “all 21 genes that encode the
proteins of the Escherichia coli 30S ribosomal subunit, and to optimize
their translation efficiency in vitro through alteration of codon bias”
as discussed in the Nature publication entitled “Accurate
multiplex gene synthesis from programmable DNA microchips”.
The scientists see this is the starting point to making a complete
functioning organism that can, for instance, produce energy, neutralize
toxins, or make small molecules for the benefit of human health and
quality of life.
If made the regular way,
a typical gene can cost a customer several thousands to hundreds of
thousands of dollars,
said. That is because the
price for a base pair, the building block of long DNA and RNA, has been
two dollar or more.
usually contain hundreds to tens of thousands of base pairs linked in a
specific order. Thus, it is impossible to obtain a large number of genes
or to achieve genome-scale DNA synthesis using the current technologies,
which could cost millions of dollars and take years of time.
Atactic scientists and
collaborators developed miniaturized synthesis device and technology –
PicoArray, using digital technology similar to that used to make computer
chips. On this thumb-size microfluidic mParafloTM
device, they generated oligonucleotides (oligos), i.e., short
fragments of DNA, in thousands of tiny reactions wells, and released the
oligos synthesized from the PicoArray to assemble genes and long DNA
benefits of synthetic genes are tremendous.
says that “for instance, these products can be used to improve DNA
sensor and diagnostics for comprehensive and more sensitive genetic
analysis and one can prepare DNA fragments of defined lengths and
sequences for CGH arrays (Comparative genomic hybridization) for
systematic mapping of chromosomal imbalances and genetic analysis.
CGH arrays are widely used in molecular cytogenetics for cancer
detection and prognosis. The
DNA products can be used to produce the blue prints for novel proteins.
Some of these proteins would be too toxic to obtain from natural
sources but the synthetic version would be safer; some of these proteins
have novel functions which do not exist in nature, which potentially can
be new generations of vaccines or therapeutics.
For instance, there has been great interest in creating humanized
antibodies for early detection of infection and as medicine.
For these applications, millions of new proteins and/or antibodies
have to be tested. Now we can
possibly do it”.
Atactic Technology Inc.
develops and markets DNA, RNA, and peptide microarrays and combinatorial
products synthesized using miniaturized microfluidic devices.
Atactic Technologies enable customers’ genome-scale high
throughput applications by providing simple, convenient, flexible, and low
cost products. Atactic’s
diverse lines of products set up the standard of
miniaturized and automated high throughput synthesis and assays.
2004, 432 (7019) 0000-0000.
Acids Research, 2004, 32 (18) 5409–5417.
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