Part 2. Genomics, Bioinformatics, & Bio-Hacking
This is the second part of my post on genomics. Let’s start with a recap on whole genome sequencing and move onto comparing dna & technology.
Whole genome sequencing
Curious about what it’s like to have your genome sequenced? read this piece by Carole Cadwalladr @ Guardian
Skeptical about the promise of cheap sequencing? Several Stanford researchers are also skeptical read about their research highlighting what’s missing from properly studying genes and cheap prices.
This brings us to thinking about DNA through the eyes of a computer scientist
Take a look at DNA Seen Through The Eyes of A Coder. It’s a must read for techies interested in genomics. Here are some awesome quotes from the article.
“Now, DNA is not like a computer programming language. It really isn’t. But there are some whopping analogies. We can view each cell as a CPU, running its own kernel. Each cell has a copy of the entire kernel, but choses to activate only the relevant parts. Which modules or drivers it loads, so to speak.
If a cell needs to do something (‘call a function’), it whips up the right piece of the genome and transcribes it into RNA. The RNA is then translated into a sequence of amino acids, which together make up a protein the DNA coded for. Now for the really cool bit 🙂
This protein is tagged with a shipping address. This is a marker consisting of several amino acids which tell the rest of the cell where this protein needs to go. There is machinery which acts on these instructions, and delivers the protein, which is potentially on the outside of the cell.
The delivery instruction is then stripped off and several post processing steps may be performed, possibly activating the protein – which is good, because you may not want to transport an active protein through places where it should not do work.”
Now watch this video on “programming dna” by Drew Endy.
And, we’re done with our adventure.
Oh one more thing,