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Computer-aided design for life itself

  • 31 December 2009
  • Magazine issue 2739. Subscribe and get 4 free issues.

FIRST it was planes, trains and automobiles that benefited from computer-aided design technology. Now, as synthetic biologists attempt to build artificial life forms, a CAD system has been developed to allow them to redesign the stuff of life much faster and more easily.

Deepak Chandran and colleagues at the University of Washington in Seattle developed Tinkercell to allow biologists to meddle with the components of, say, a bacterium, and simulate the effect the change has (Journal of Biomedical Engineering, vol 3, p 19).

The package has a library of the components of life, from which users can pick different cells, membrane proteins, fluorescent proteins, enzymes and genes to create their organism. Tinkercell can then simulate the life form to see if it functions as expected.
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Got a link to this tidbit of new info … thought it might spark some discussion. I'm old enough to remember using Autocad Version 3
 

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dan ,
is that one of the new brain cells in your avatar?
how does it work over the old dan ?
 
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