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William Beard

November 16, 2017


Professor Lynn Raymond
Annotated Bibliography

Wade, Nicholas. Genes Color a Butterflys Wings. Now Scientists Want to Do It Themselves.
New York Times,
www.nytimes.com/2017/09/18/science/butterfly-wing-color-patterns-gene-editing.html.*
This article goes over the recent progress made by several scientists working with the five-year-
old Crispr gene tool that allows them to effectively delete different genes from a sequence of
genes. In this case, they are working with two master genes that contain all of the genetic code
that controls the development of the coloration patterns for all butterflies. As they remove the
optix gene, the effect is surprising to them. Instead of simply losing the trait that they were
testing for, upon deletion of that gene, new traits are revealed, such as the production of melanin
causing a wing to turn black from brown. The baffling thing is that these melanocytes that
produce the melanin were never on to begin with. They only activated upon the removal of the
optix gene, which prompts scientists to look further in depth to discover how this could be
related to the evolution of different species of butterflies.
Chiu, Tai-Yin and Jiang, Jie-Hong. Logic Synthesis of Recombinase-Based Genetic Circuits.
Nature, www.nature.com/articles/s41598-017-07386-3*
This article discusses the usage of the Crispr-Cas9 systems to modify Escherichia coli cells to
create synthetic logic gates in the cells to be used for any number of functions. They have also
been successful in making it store simple Boolean-type information in the long term, and have
also successfully enabled the synthetic logic gates to be passed down through ninety generations
of cells. The usage and the methods are described in detail in the article as well, and they go on
to talk about how the cells could be coded to be detectors of specific information, such as
detecting a chemical and then causing a cell to release fluorescent green proteins.
Chandler, David. Teaching a microbe to make fuel. MIT News,
http://news.mit.edu/2012/genetically-modified-organism-can-turn-carbon-dioxide-into-fuel-
0821[Chandler]
This article discusses the Ralstonia eutropha, a ground soil bacterium that when put into a
situation where food supply is limited, tries to gather in all of the carbon around it and store it as
a plastic. It can also be prompted to expel the contents it is storing, which is what makes this
bacterium so special. Anthony Sinskey and his two graduate student colleagues, were able to
make some modifications to the genes of the bacterium to make it produce isobutanol, a biofuel
that can be used as a direct substitute for gasoline.
Pekoc, Ken. Disease resistance successfully spread from modified to wild mosquitoes.
National Institutes of Health, www.nih.gov/news-events/news-releases/disease
-resistance-successfully-spread-modified-wild-mosquitoes
This article discusses the genetic modification of Anopheles mosquitoes and their usage in
stopping the spread of malaria. The genetically modified mosquitoes have a resistance to the
parasite Plasmodium, which is responsible for the spread of malaria, which they can spread to
their future generations by mating with wild mosquitoes. The genetically modified males prefer
to mate with wild females, and the genetically modified females are preferred by wild males.
This tendency poses the possibility to completely wipe out the spread of malaria by mosquito,
and stop mosquito-human spread of malaria.
Smart Molecules Trigger White Blood Cells to Become Better Cancer-eating Machines.
Science Newsline Biology,
http://www.sciencenewsline.com/news/2017092918070060.html
This article discusses the usage of a gene editing tool called iSNAPS (integrated sensing and
activating proteins) and how they can edit body cells to better fight cancer. In this article they
modify macrophages, white blood cells that oversee keeping the blood stream clear of foreign
objects, to be able to ignore a signal that cancer cells send out that says, dont eat me. By doing
this, the macrophages are far better at eliminating cancer cells and are able to quickly rid a
solution of them. They also discuss that the iSNAPS tool can be used to engineer these cells for a
variety of other functions, including reprogramming of other cells to be better at their
functionality as well.
University of Warwick. Cells programmed like computers to fight disease. Science Daily,
www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/09/170918093340.htm
This article discusses the editing of a molecule known as ribonucleic acid (RNA) that oversees
communication between the nucleus of a cell and other structures in the cell. This RNA is
essentially a code sequence that if modified, can be made to do any number of things. The other
aspect of the coding of RNA that they detail, is that it is a universally understood genetic
language. This means that it can be used across species of animals and plants as well, allowing
much more versatility in its usage.
Williams, Mike. Magnetized viruses attack harmful bacteria. Rice University News and Media,
http://news.rice.edu/2017/08/01/magnetized-viruses-attack-harmful-bacteria-2/
This article discusses the current issue in water treatment plants where things called biofilms are
currently causing issues. A biofilm is essentially a protective barrier that houses various bacteria
in water treatment plants. Biofilms can be helpful as they often speed up the breakdown of bad
substances in the water, however they can also house harmful bacteria. Normally, there are
phages that are put into the water to destroy these biofilms, but they havent been effective at it.
Scientists at Rice University however, were able to use a weak magnetic field to attract the
bacteriophages to their target, and thus allow them to destroy the biofilms in the water with a
50% increase in destroyed bacteria.
Burrows, Leah. Safely releasing genetically modified genes into the wild. Harvard University,
www.seas.harvard.edu/news/2017/08/safely-releasing-genetically-modified-genes-into-
wild
This article discusses what would happen if a genetically engineered mosquito that possessed
resistances to disease were to be released into the wild. According to Hidenori Tanaka, a
graduate student from Harvard, it would cause irreversible damage to the ecosystem.
Fortunately, mathematicians and statisticians were able to calculate the number of mosquitos that
would need to be released into the wild to be able to spread the gene and change the environment
forever, and with the help of genetic engineers and the Crispr-Car9 tool, they were able to
impose genetic weaknesses in the specimen to ensure they would be unable to spread throughout
an ecosystem unless a genetic bomb worth of mosquitos were to be released all in one area.
Frontiers. A super-algae to save our seas? Genetic engineering species to save coral. Science
Daily, www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/07/170720095111.htm
This article details the current situation of the coral reef and how the recent climate change has
affected the reefs health. As of late, the symbiotic relationship that the reefs have with a
microalgae Symbiodinium is affected due to the climate change as it kills the algae, leaving the
reef to starve to death. This article details the usage of genetic engineering to be able to create
more resilient algae that can be released into the reef to re-invigorate it and cause the reef to
recover. The coral reef serves as an asset for global funds and the livelihood of millions of
people and its protection is another reason that genetic engineering is such a useful science.

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