DailyDirt: Tiny Drug Factories
from the urls-we-dig-up dept
Brand name pharmaceutical drugs are ridiculously expensive, but how much does it really cost to manufacture a drug? A potentially low-cost method is to use microorganisms -- which are plentiful -- to synthesize chemical compounds. For example, synthetic insulin is now made using genetically modified bacteria. Here are a few other examples.
- Are you depressed? You can use open-source DNA code from the Registry of Standard Biological Parts to genetically engineer yogurt bacteria to make Prozac. The process takes 4-5 days, and anyone can purchase the DNA code online. [url]
- Researchers at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies have created a strain of bacteria that can incorporate artificial amino acids into proteins at multiple sites. This could be used to engineer bacteria to produce a variety of synthetic chemicals. [url]
- Green algae could be a cheaper alternative to bacteria in the manufacture of therapeutic drugs. While bacterial cultures require lots of energy and nutrients to maintain, the algae need only sunlight and carbon dioxide in the air. [url]
- To discover more interesting science-related stuff, check out what's currently floating around the StumbleUpon universe. [url]