Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors
Heifer International



Home > Press > Synthetic biology reinvents development:The research team have used synthetic biology to develop a new type of genetic design that can reproduce some of the key processes that enable creating structures in natural systems, from termite nests to the development of embryos

Petri dish with the bacteria E. coli forming patterns induced by the new synthetic system. Source: Ricard Solé.
Petri dish with the bacteria E. coli forming patterns induced by the new synthetic system. Source: Ricard Solé.

Abstract:
Richard Feynman, one of the most respected physicists of the twentieth century, said "What I cannot create, I do not understand". Not surprisingly, many physicists and mathematicians have observed fundamental biological processes with the aim of precisely identifying the minimum ingredients that could generate them. One such example are the patterns of nature observed by Alan Turing. The brilliant English mathematician demonstrated in 1952 that it was possible to explain how a completely homogeneous tissue could be used to create a complex embryo, and he did so using one of the simplest, most elegant mathematical models ever written. One of the results of such models is that the symmetry shown by a cell or a tissue can "break" under a set of conditions. However, Turing was not able to test his ideas, and it took over 70 years before a breakthrough in biology technique was able to evaluate them decisively. Can Turing's dream be made a reality through Feynman's proposal? Genetic engineering has proved it can.



Evolution of the E. coli colony modified using synthetic biology.

Synthetic biology reinvents development:The research team have used synthetic biology to develop a new type of genetic design that can reproduce some of the key processes that enable creating structures in natural systems, from termite nests to the development of embryos

Barcelona, Spain | Posted on February 8th, 2021

Now, a research team from the Institute of Evolutionary Biology (IBE), a joint centre of UPF and the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), has developed a new type of model and its implementation using synthetic biology can reproduce the symmetry breakage observed in embryos with the minimum amount of ingredients possible.

The research team has managed to implement via synthetic biology (by introducing parts of genes of other species into the E. coli bacteria) a mechanism to generate spatial patterns observed in more complex animals, such as Drosophila melanogaster (fruit fly) or humans. In the study, the team observed that the strains of modified E. coli, which normally grow in (symmetrical) circular patterns, do as in the shape of a flower with petals at regular intervals, just as Turing had predicted.

"We wanted to build symmetry breaking that is never seen in colonies of E. coli, but is seen in patterns of animals, and then to discover which are the essential ingredients needed to generate these patterns", says Salva Duran-Nebreda, who conducted this research for his doctorate in the Complex Systems laboratory and is currently a postdoctoral researcher at the IBE Evolution of Technology laboratory.

Using the new synthetic platform, the research team was able to identify the parameters that modulate the emergence of spatial patterns in E. coli . "We have seen that by modulating three ingredients we can induce symmetry breaking. In essence, we have altered cell division, adhesion between cells and long-distance communication capacity (quorum sensing), that is to say, perceive when there is a collective decision", Duran-Nebreda comments.

The observations made in the E. coli model could be applied to more complex animal models or to insect colony design principles. "In the same way that organoids or miniature organs can help us develop therapies without having to resort to animal models, this synthetic system paves the way to understanding as universal a phenomenon as embryonic development in a far simpler in vitro system", says Ricard Solé, ICREA researcher with the Complex Systems group at the IBE, and head of the research.

The model developed in this study, the first of its kind, could be key to understanding some embryonic development events. "We must think of this synthetic system as a platform for learning to design different fundamental biological mechanisms that generate structures, such as the step from a zygote to the formation of a complete organism. Moreover, such knowledge on the frontier between mechanical and biological processes, could be very useful for understanding developmental disorders", Duran-Nebreda concludes.

####

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Mari Carmen Cebrián Calvo

34-933-160-916

Copyright © Universitat Pompeu Fabra Barcelona

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related Links

Reference article:

Related News Press

News and information

Engineering piezoelectricity and strain sensitivity in CdS to promote piezocatalytic hydrogen evolution May 13th, 2022

New nanomechanical oscillators with record-low loss May 13th, 2022

Small microring array enables large complex-valued matrix multiplication May 13th, 2022

Study finds nanomedicine targeting lymph nodes key to triple negative breast cancer treatment: In mice, nanomedicine can remodel the immune microenvironment in lymph node and tumor tissue for long-term remission and lung tumor elimination in this form of metastasized breast cance May 13th, 2022

Videos/Movies

Scientists prepare for the world’s smallest race: Nanocar Race II March 18th, 2022

Visualizing the invisible: New fluorescent DNA label reveals nanoscopic cancer features March 4th, 2022

OCSiAl receives the green light for Luxembourg graphene nanotube facility project to power the next generation of electric vehicles in Europe March 4th, 2022

Nanotube fibers stand strong -- but for how long? Rice scientists calculate how carbon nanotubes and their fibers experience fatigue December 24th, 2021

Synthetic Biology

Bioinformatics tool accurately tracks synthetic: DNA Computer scientists show benefits of bioinformatics with PlasmidHawk February 26th, 2021

Machine learning takes on synthetic biology: algorithms can bioengineer cells for you: Berkeley Lab scientists develop a tool that could drastically speed up the ability to design new biological systems September 25th, 2020

Advance in programmable synthetic materials: Reading sequence of metal atoms in MOFs allows encoding of multiple chemical functions August 11th, 2020

Machine learning reveals recipe for building artificial proteins July 24th, 2020

Possible Futures

Engineering piezoelectricity and strain sensitivity in CdS to promote piezocatalytic hydrogen evolution May 13th, 2022

New nanomechanical oscillators with record-low loss May 13th, 2022

Small microring array enables large complex-valued matrix multiplication May 13th, 2022

Study finds nanomedicine targeting lymph nodes key to triple negative breast cancer treatment: In mice, nanomedicine can remodel the immune microenvironment in lymph node and tumor tissue for long-term remission and lung tumor elimination in this form of metastasized breast cance May 13th, 2022

Self Assembly

Nanoclusters self-organize into centimeter-scale hierarchical assemblies April 22nd, 2022

Atom by atom: building precise smaller nanoparticles with templates March 4th, 2022

Nanostructures get complex with electron equivalents: Nanoparticles of two different sizes break away from symmetrical designs January 14th, 2022

A simple way to get complex semiconductors to assemble themselves: Much like crystallizing rock candy from sugar syrup, the new method grows 2D perovskites precisely layered with other 2D materials to produce crystals with a wide range of electronic properties September 17th, 2021

Discoveries

Going gentle on mechanical quantum systems: New experimental work establishes how quantum properties of mechanical quantum systems can be measured without destroying the quantum state May 13th, 2022

New nanomechanical oscillators with record-low loss May 13th, 2022

Small microring array enables large complex-valued matrix multiplication May 13th, 2022

Study finds nanomedicine targeting lymph nodes key to triple negative breast cancer treatment: In mice, nanomedicine can remodel the immune microenvironment in lymph node and tumor tissue for long-term remission and lung tumor elimination in this form of metastasized breast cance May 13th, 2022

Announcements

Engineering piezoelectricity and strain sensitivity in CdS to promote piezocatalytic hydrogen evolution May 13th, 2022

New nanomechanical oscillators with record-low loss May 13th, 2022

Small microring array enables large complex-valued matrix multiplication May 13th, 2022

Study finds nanomedicine targeting lymph nodes key to triple negative breast cancer treatment: In mice, nanomedicine can remodel the immune microenvironment in lymph node and tumor tissue for long-term remission and lung tumor elimination in this form of metastasized breast cance May 13th, 2022

Interviews/Book Reviews/Essays/Reports/Podcasts/Journals/White papers/Posters

Lightening up the nanoscale long-wavelength optoelectronics May 13th, 2022

On-Chip Photodetection: Two-dimensional material heterojunctions hetero-integration May 13th, 2022

Development of high-durability single-atomic catalyst using industrial humidifier: Identification of the operating mechanism of cobalt-based single-atomic catalyst and development of a mass production process. Utilization for catalyst development in various fields including fuel May 13th, 2022

Engineering piezoelectricity and strain sensitivity in CdS to promote piezocatalytic hydrogen evolution May 13th, 2022

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE




  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More











ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project