Dan Gibson: How to build synthetic DNA and send it across the internet
Dan Gibson leads a new breed of bioengineers, called genome writers, who use DNA to design and build new products powering the next industrial revolution. Full bio
Double-click the English transcript below to play the video.
about building synthetic cells
from an international health organization,
the H7N9 bird flu.
moving across China.
to produce a flu vaccine
for at least six months.
flu vaccine manufacturing process
was the only option.
from infected patients,
the virus into chicken eggs,
for several weeks
for the start of a multistep,
a biological printer,
for the flu vaccine instructions
from the internet and printed.
in which flu vaccines are made,
our ability to read and write DNA
who builds stuff out of DNA.
one of my favorite things to do
and put it back together
better how it works.
just like coders programing a computer.
and things like vaccines and therapeutics
that were previously impossible.
recipient Craig Venter
of the functions and characteristics
including viruses and living cells,
that code of DNA,
in a distant location.
by biological teleportation.
of creating, for the first time,
from DNA code in the computer.
as a scientist looking for a job,
it doesn't get any better than this.
of DNA within an organism.
Genome Project in 2003,
effort to identify
of a human being,
the techniques for reading DNA.
of the As, Cs, Ts and Gs
the techniques for writing DNA.
as writing short sentences,
for proteins and living cells.
machines at making new products,
would drive this bioeconomy even more,
just like computers.
would enable biological teleportation ...
these promises to fruition,
for the first time,
from a number of companies,
bottles of chemicals that make up DNA,
those very short pieces of DNA for you.
developing the technology
those short pieces of DNA
contained over one million letters.
of your average novel,
of those letters in the correct order,
by developing a procedure
isothermal in vitro recombination method."
didn't like this technically accurate name
is now the gold standard tool,
the complete bacterial genome,
as the operating system of the cell,
necessary to boot up the genome.
where we could reprogram cells
bacterial species into another,
with that of another.
technology then paved the way
written by scientists
for reading and writing DNA
when we announced the creation
was sequenced, back in 1995,
have been sequenced and stored
was the proof of concept
sequence out of the computer
into a free-living, self-replicating cell,
of the species that we constructed.
why there may be concerns
of genetic manipulation.
for great societal benefit,
carrying out the very first experiment,
with the public and the government
and regulate this new technology.
was to screen every customer
are not being made by bad guys,
are reported to the FBI
will power the next industrial revolution
global sustainability challenges.
from engineered microbes,
printed at a patient's bedside.
to create synthetic cells
we found ways to write DNA faster,
of these technologies,
readily automate the processes
out of the scientist's hands
essential in writing DNA
around the world are working on.
about the H7N9 bird flu scare in China.
had already isolated the virus,
the DNA sequence to the internet.
we downloaded the DNA sequence
we printed it on the BioXp.
that synthetic DNA into a flu vaccine.
dating back to the 1940s,
to arrive from China
their egg-based approach.
developed ahead of time
to appreciate, more than ever,
a biological teleporter.
short pieces of DNA,
into biological entities,
proteins or even viruses.
as a DVD player,
software and instrumentation engineers
to predict what DNA to build,
building blocks of DNA into short pieces,
those short pieces into much longer ones,
into other biological entities,
it was effective.
that once took weeks or months
in just one to two days.
any human intervention
by the receipt of an email
from anywhere in the world.
the DBC to fax machines.
received images and documents,
fax machines have evolved.
still didn't know what a fax machine was,
to grasp the concept
on the other side of the world.
that a fax machine does
of digital information for granted.
in similar ways as fax machines have.
the size of the instrument,
the underlying technology
faster and more accurate.
when synthesizing DNA,
between a medicine working or not
for the distributed manufacturing
could use a DBC
for a patient at their bedside.
when it's routine for people to have a DBC
home computer or smart phone
in strategic areas around the world,
to a DBC on the other side of the world,
right on the front lines.
specifically tailored to the flu strain
vaccines and shipping them out,
go as far as the imagination goes.
placing a DBC on another planet.
the digital instructions to that DBC
or to make synthetic organisms
fuel or building materials,
more habitable for humans.
traveling at the speed of light,
to send those digital instructions
to physically deliver those same samples
beaming new medicines across the globe,
for those who don't have time to wait.
ABOUT THE SPEAKERDan Gibson - Genome writer
Dan Gibson leads a new breed of bioengineers, called genome writers, who use DNA to design and build new products powering the next industrial revolution.
Why you should listen
In 2004, Dan Gibson was drawn to a project at the J. Craig Venter Institute: to build a synthetic cell from scratch. Within days, he was on a path to creating synthetic life alongside genomics pioneers. But to build a whole genome from scratch, Gibson had to first invent new methods to assemble DNA. One method, dubbed the "Gibson Assembly," became a game changer, and a series of firsts followed: first synthetic bacterial genome, first synthetic cell, first minimal cell. Today, these discoveries inform the design of synthetic DNA used for new medicines.
Gibson's teams at SGI and SGI-DNA recently introduced the world's first biologic teleporter, called the Digital-to-Biological Converter (DBC), which turns digital code into functional biologics in the form of DNA, RNA and proteins without human intervention. Imagine a future where digital code is emailed to DBCs at hospitals around the world to deliver personalized medicine at a patient's bedside.
Dan Gibson | Speaker | TED.com