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My Probaway Person of the Year choices get blended into a single scientific experiment.

A new role for zebrafish: Larger scale gene function studies

NIH/National Human Genome Research Institute

That clickable report is about using Jennifer Doudna‘s method for insertion of designed DNA precisely into existing DNA. It is being used to modify DNA code in schools of zebrafish where the effects of the DNA insertions can be seen. The zebrafish are transparent, and with florescent tracking the functions of the inserted or deleted DNA can be seen, and then with fast breeding zebrafish and positive recycling, desirable effects can be created. Because the zebrafish is a vertebrate some of the genes’ functions will be relevant to mammals and to humans. This work is greatly influenced by Craig Venter’s techniques for computer-generated DNA sequences. My seemingly strange inclusion of a computer game, Plague Inc, as a person of the year is relevant too, because it guides the way for combining all of these technologies into a new future for humanity. The game, as games tend to do, points to the evil uses of this wonderfully helpful technology, but most of the effects will be helpful. The Probaway choices were published on January 1st of each year with the guiding idea of looking back from 500 years into the future.

  • 2014 – Jennifer Doudna created a method for insertion of designed DNA precisely into existing DNA.
  • 2013 – Plague Inc. is a computer game that explores the problems of  creating a disease that will kill every last human being on Earth.
  • 2012 – Zebrafish research-technique advances made it possible to observe drug interactions within living animals.
  • 2011 – Craig Venter  laid the groundwork for creating entirely new forms of life (greater than species) out of computer-generated DNA sequences.

This current news won’t actually be published for another month. It will be in the July 2015 issue of Genome Research.

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