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July 1st, 2007
Biologists have successfully transplanted an entire genome from one bacterium to another, replacing the host's DNA completely and converting it to the donor species. In a study reported in Science online, DNA was removed from Mycoplasma mycoides and inserted into Mycoplasma capricolum, strains that were selected because of their small genome size and fast growth. The success of the study was also facilitated by the close relationship of the two species.
While being an exceptional achievement in genetic and cloning research, this work is also an important development for nanotechnology, and a step towards the goal of producing tiny smart- or nano-machines: Genetic "factories" for biodegradation or biomedical applications.
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