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lunes, 29 de junio de 2015

Biocontainment of genetically modified organisms by synthetic protein design

Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are increasingly deployed at large scales and in open environments. Genetic biocontainment strategies are needed to prevent unintended proliferation of GMOs in natural ecosystems. Existing biocontainment methods are insufficient either because they impose evolutionary pressure on the organism to eject the safeguard, because they can be circumvented by environmentally available compounds, or because they can be overcome by horizontal gene transfer (HGT). Here we computationally redesign essential enzymes in the first organism possessing an altered genetic code to confer metabolic dependence on nonstandard amino acids for survival. The resulting GMOs cannot metabolically circumvent their biocontainment mechanisms using environmentally available compounds, and they exhibit unprecedented resistance to evolutionary escape via mutagenesis and HGT. This work provides a foundation for safer GMOs that are isolated from natural ecosystems by reliance on synthetic metabolites.

Mandell, Daniel J. et al. “Biocontainment of Genetically Modified Organisms by Synthetic Protein Design.” Nature 518.7537 (2015): 55–60. PMC. Web. 24 June 2015.
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