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Daniel Gibson on 'Cooking Up Genomes'

Boonsri Dickinson, a blogger at SmartPlanet (which is sponsored by IBM), says that JCVI's "Daniel Gibson can synthesize genomes the way the Iron Chef whips up a mean dinner dish." In speaking with Gibson recently, Dickinson collected the researcher's thoughts on building genomes, producing vaccines, and leisure-reading. Gibson tells SmartPlanet that "now that we can produce synthetic cells, we can synthesize minimal genomes and make minimal cells where we understand the function of every gene in that cell and what DNA is required to sustain life in its simplest form." Of the JCVI's synthetic genomics approach to vaccine production, Gibson says that his team's "DNA sequence databases are filling up with novel genes and pathways waiting to be identified, optimized, and expressed" for this purpose. And when asked about the last book he'd read, Gibson replies: "Who has time to read books when you're synthesizing genomes?"

The Scan

Transcriptomic, Epigenetic Study Appears to Explain Anti-Viral Effects of TB Vaccine

Researchers report in Science Advances on an interferon signature and long-term shifts in monocyte cell DNA methylation in Bacille Calmette-Guérin-vaccinated infant samples.

DNA Storage Method Taps Into Gene Editing Technology

With a dual-plasmid system informed by gene editing, researchers re-wrote DNA sequences in E. coli to store Charles Dickens prose over hundreds of generations, as they recount in Science Advances.

Researchers Model Microbiome Dynamics in Effort to Understand Chronic Human Conditions

Investigators demonstrate in PLOS Computational Biology a computational method for following microbiome dynamics in the absence of longitudinally collected samples.

New Study Highlights Role of Genetics in ADHD

Researchers report in Nature Genetics on differences in genetic architecture between ADHD affecting children versus ADHD that persists into adulthood or is diagnosed in adults.