Synthetic Genomics Unveils Digital-to-biological Converter Using Digital DNA To Print Biologics
Recently, a team of researchers has introduced a revolutionary new machine that they call a digital-to-biological converter which is designed to do exactly that: send digital information that describes biological data (like DNA, RNA, or a protein) to a device that is then able to print a synthesized version.
The team of researchers from Synthetic Genomics published a paper describing the technology in the journal Nature Biotechnology
How could such a machine be used? What are the practical applications?Consider the space program.
What if a machine was launched aboard a rocket to another planet, and then was able to transmit back to Earth the information describing a remote life form? Theoretically, the machine could then print a synthesized version of the biological data sent from the remote machine.Or consider public health applications.
If an outbreak of a deadly virus occurs in one area in the world, this technology could be used to send the digitized DNA data of the deadly disease back to a remote research lab, where the virus could then be synthesized and used to help develop a vaccine. You can even take it one step further once a vaccine has been created, you could use the converter machine to then print the material needed to create the vaccine locally.
The new device is built around the BioXP 3200, a synthetic DNA printer that is already used worldwide.
It also includes several different components that receive information, process information, and deal with the printed materials. The researchers are careful to note that their machine is not a means for creating life, however, since viruses are not considered to be life forms. Instead, they describe it as a digital to biological converter for on-demand production of biologics.
The company highlights the many positive potential uses for their technology, but others are concerned about the potential negative uses of something like this for example, the ability to use the machine in creating biological weapons.