Reading and Writing Genomes

Reading and Writing DNA has improved 2 to 10 times faster than Moore’s Law over the last 35 years. There has been over 10 million times improvement.

Molecular and cell multiplexing enable atomically precise reactions at 1 trillion reactions per droplet.

George Church gave a talk about reading and writing whole genomes.

George Church giving a similar talk with overlap in the slides.

Germline vs Somatic Gene Therapy
1. Billion-fold lower off-target (due to cell #)
2. Clonality allows checking (additional million-fold)
3. Immune Tolerance
4. 100% Delivery to every cell
5. $0 to subsequent generations

1. Very long term clinical trials >20 years
2. 130 newborns/yr vs 7.7 billion total

The Genome in a Bottle Consortium is a public-private-academic consortium hosted by NIST to develop the technical infrastructure (reference standards, reference methods, and reference data) to enable translation of whole human genome sequencing to clinical practice.

5 thoughts on “Reading and Writing Genomes”

  1. A lot of peope are skeptical about George Church’s approach of trying to “improve” an aging damaged metabolism. It may be simpler to just remove the damage.

    A lot of the recently launched longevity companies are focusing on upregulating the stress response, not on removing or obviating damage.

    Still, comprehenisve gene and cell therapy is needed to remove a lot of damage, so George Church is still building a lot of the infastructure and methods needed for a damage repair approach.

    Brian will probably never read this comment, but if he does he needs to be aware that there are two broad approaches to treating aging 1~ the removal of stochastic damage (the SENS approach) and 2~ trying to improve a damage altered metabolism (the “messing with metabolis” approach).

    With approach 2 the underlying damage is still there, and is still accumulating, so treatments are destined to become less effective over time e.g. dopamine treatments in Parkinsons to replace the loss of dopamine production due to the death of the cells that produce dopamine. The cells are still dying over time, and this gradually leads to dopamine treatment no longer being effective. If we could replace the lost cells (damage repair) then we would fix the problem rather than compensate for it.

  2. I cannot dispute the points made, but question the need for care and feeding of organic life in a transit which may last centuries.

  3. That’s assuming you are talking about “biological” humans.
    By the time we are ready to explore the nearest star (~ 200+ years) we will have either:
    (i) solved the aging process (cloning may be used to bring back someone hit by the proverbial bus)
    (ii) become synthetic humans
    Given the current trend in birthrate (i.e. approaching zero) and the evolution of society from agricultural/manufacturing -> service/information I would suggest an evolution in human body transformation is on the cards.

  4. As I have said before- the galaxy will not be colonized using generation ships or frozen fetuses. The DNA will be printed when the ship gets there. Starting with the single cell stuff. It just makes sense.

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