Image credit: Spencer Katz
By Monte Morin
Synthetic amino acids may one day allow scientists to create “genetic firewalls” that prevent GMO crops or animals from escaping into the wild and causing environmental damage, according to Harvard and Yale researchers.
On Wednesday, scientists announced that they had genetically engineered bacteria whose very survival depended on lab-formulated amino acids. By “locking in” this synthetic nutritional requirement, researchers said the bacteria would quickly die if they escaped their carefully controlled environment and entered the world at large.
“I don’t want to be alarmist or anything, but I think the point is that these organisms do spread,” said George Church, a Harvard Medical School genetics professor.
The altered bacteria, which Church and his colleagues dubbed genomically recoded organisms, or GROs, were described in a pair of studies published Wednesday in the journal Nature.
Read the full article by clicking the name of the source located below.