Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Synthetic Biology and Space Travel

J. Craig Venter, the pioneering scientist who sequenced the human genome 15 years ago and more recently booted up a synthetic genome, gave a talk about how synthetic biology can help space travel.

One particularly interesting aspect of his talk was about the "Synthetic Metabiome", which is the concept that involves manipulating the microbial community of the human body to better sustain the astronaut during space travel. Here are some interesting bullet points from the talk thanks to the Parabolic Arc website:

Synthetic Metabiome

* replace the thousands of microbes on and in humans preparing for long-term space flight or habitation with a defined microbial community
* microbial community could eliminate disease organisms, methanogens, sulfur producers
* microbial community could add cells to produce certain vitamins and proteins needed for long-term space missions.
* eliminate future infections, tooth decay

Take a look at some notes from the Parabolic Arc website for this and many more interesting stories: Full Article from Parabolic Arc
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