Using the tools we have on earth, humans have been able to accomplish many things, like making new and amazing technologies. One of these technologies allows for a speedy method of evolution – genetic engineering. Though many misunderstand this breeding technique, it’s benefits can be applied to a multitude of areas in human life, even in computers!
A study done in Santa Barbara California by Daniel E. Morse and colleagues using proteins from sea sponges proved that silicon dioxide could be manufactured by artificial cells. This compound is used in solar panels and circuit boards everywhere. There’s a catch, however, normal gene editing involves using bacteria to help replicate proteins with the genes. In this case, these proteins would destroy the host bacteria. To avoid this problem, the researchers did something awesome. They simulated a cell with microbeads in water/oil emulsions (or mixtures)!
Attaching the DNA that was responsible for creating the silica forming proteins, the team simulated mitosis by way of chemical reactions. This in turn multiplied the DNA and gave way for more synthesized proteins in a process that used selection pressures, like natural selection.
This process isn’t perfected yet, but scientists are always looking for ways to use technology efficiently. Maybe someday the genes from sea sponges will be used to make household electronics!
Till next time,
Our Lonely Universe | Jessie Sgouros