Crop Biotech Update

New Synthetic Biology Project For Cheaper and More Efficient Biotechnology

February 24, 2012

Biotechnology research is hoped to be made cheaper and more efficient with the research findings from a new project funded by the Longer and Larger grant from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC). Scientists at the University of Southampton and Oxford have found that DNA and RNA segments can be ‘clicked' together using chemical methods instead of using enzymes which require specificity and can only be conducted in small scale.

The research team has been awarded over £4 million to develop a new technique for 'clicking' DNA and RNA segments together. DNA that underwent the ‘click' method can still be recognized, copied and read, and enzymes can even make RNA. Synthesizing strands of DNA using enzymes which require extreme optimization and specificity can thus be replaced by the ‘click' technology. The ‘click' technology could be used in certain cancer therapy and HIV treatment where long strands of DNA are used to turn off genes. This could be done by Introducing shorter DNA into the cell and allowing them to strongly stick together once inside  the cell.

Professor Andrew Turberfield of the University of Oxford one of the lead researchers of the project believes that "this new technology is an important addition to the toolbox of molecular techniques that is allowing researchers to explore how biological systems function by creating simplified and modified biomolecular machinery."

View the news at http://www.bbsrc.ac.uk/news/industrial-biotechnology/2012/120221-pr-project-herald-efficient-biotechnology.aspx