MAGE is a technology that is capable of taking a population of cells and adding, deleting, and replacing DNA sequences at very specific target locations within the cellular genome. Learn more...
Wyss scientists are learning how to quickly and cheaply manufacture the building blocks of life -- DNA, RNA, proteins, and cells -- and to generate almost unlimited variations in their shape and structure. DNA is biodegradable and biocompatible, so this unprecedented to ability engineer it from scratch -- mimicking natural evolution and accelerating it in a predetermined way -- gives scientists new tools to reverse cancer in the new era of personalized medicine, deliver drugs to injury sites, and engineer microbes that produce biodegradable plastics. Genetic engineering is to biology, disease treatment, personalized medicine, environmental sustainability and more what Silicon Valley was for computer technology and information: it is a game-changer, and the genetic revolution is upon us.
One team is re-engineering photosynthetic bacteria to produce hydrogen and other fuels -- in essence, transforming groups of cells into biological solar panels. Another is constructing genetic "memory" devices, including on-off switches and counters that effectively function like living transistors for integrated biochip devices. And still another is using powerful new methods including DNA origami and modular 3D nanofabrication techniques to assemble complex shapes out of DNA for "smart" drug delivery and next generation computer circuits.
In addition to using DNA in a way that unearths a whole new landscape of state-of-the-art medical and energy-related applications, this team is using it to store significant amounts of data in unprecedented ways. Because the DNA molecule is so highly dense, it just might be the world's most capable storage unit -- potentially able to house all of the world's information in just a few grams of DNA weighing as much as four paper clips.
Lead Projects and Technologies
|Multiplex Automated Genome Engineering (MAGE)
Altering genomes quicker, easier, cheaper
|DNA Synthesis and Assembly
New methods for large-scale, affordable synthesis and assembly of genes
|Designing Better Biofuels
Using genetic engineering tools to overcome the challenges of conventional photosynthesis
James J. Collins