Re: Bioplague [has Tom Clancy spoilers]

Robert J. Bradbury (
Sun, 10 Oct 1999 11:54:17 -0700 (PDT)

On Sun, 10 Oct 1999, Duane Hewitt wrote:

> You could actually swap genomes today using nuclear transfer as per
> Dolly if you had the genome coded and ready.

True but the difficulties of transfering a nucleus into every cell in your body are formidable, plus there is the problem that the technique only works if the cells are in a specific phase of cell growth/replication. I'm unsure whether you could get all of the cells in your body into that phase.

Nanobot nuclear genome replacement is much less invasive than millions of glass pipettes being stuck into your immobilized body...

> There would not be much
> point though because your new organism would be based on the blueprint
> of the introduced genome and the only differences that might arise would
> be due to genes coded in the mitochondria.

Presumably you include the mitochondrial genes in the new nuclear genome. [You can do this if Aubrey de Grey's proposals work out.] Presumably if you go to the trouble of introducing a new genome you are going to engineer it to be much better than the old genome.

> BTW what if you could deliver a protein to every tissue of the body via
> an aerosol.

Duane, I think you are stretching things here. Your own page on the subject says "proteins injected into the abdomen". It is highly questionable whether we will get aerosol or eaten delivery of proteins (until you have nanobots). [Unless you mean high velocity protein injection through the skin via an air gun, but I don't call these aerosols].

> It is possible today through protein transduction. This breakthrough
> technology is being developed as an AIDS therapy and as a tool for basic
> research. If you would like to learn more about it swing on over to

This is the "trojan horse" HIV defense that I've discussed previously. It is one of the most clever ideas I've seen in med-biotech in the last couple of years. The original reference is : The comment in:
Nature Medicine 1999 Jan;5(1):27-8
is a most readable summary.