The business of synthesizing DNA is a slow process that is full of sequencing errors. Because of this the production of DNA is very expensive. But a new company has emerged that is cutting the cost of production by ten thousand times. This company has emerged from the halls of Singularity University, Cambrian Genomics. Their work is going to change how we live.
The current method for producing synthesized DNA is to create one strand at a time. These strands have lots of errors and have to be fixed one at a time. Cambrian Genomics has figured out how to make one million strands in one shot. The first step in their process of making DNA is a machine that put the basic building blocks of DNA in order. These are A,C,G,T; adenine, cytosine, guanine, and thymine. The strands then pass through a camera system that is hooked up to a computer with software that allows for the identification of good DNA strands via tagging. This turns out to be about twenty percent of the synthesized material. The DNA is then transferred to a laser printer, that is a lose term, that prints the good DNA strands by identifying their tags at a rate of one hundred strands per second. This laser printer produces more strands of DNA in a single run then every other machine in the whole world produces in a whole year collectively. Cambrian Genomics is in the business of mass producing DNA and selling it. The biggest breakthrough technology in Cambrian Genomics production process is the laser printer and it is the reason they have brought production costs down so low.
So now we have a company that has brought the build blocks of life in to a realistic cost envelope. So this could be that start of a cost reduction that could place this technology in to homes, making every person with this technology a Genetic Designer. This reality is a while away, but it is coming. In the present this machine can be used to make DNA that can help to prevent birth defects, heal disease, or even be used to create Artificial Intelligence. We could produce microbes that perform specific jobs for humans. My favorite one to think about is having this system on a space ship. It can be used to create DNA to make a microbe that could in turn produce a fuel source for the engines. We could save endangered species or bring back extinct animals or plants. I mean we could just get down to brass tacks and bring some dinosaurs back. The uses are actually limitless, we will be able to create anything that is alive.
- My Junk Hauler
So essentially with this technology humans will be able to create new forms of life. The conversation of ethics has to be brought up. I am sure there will be people against this and people for it. I personally think this technology is a positive step in the right direction for humanity. This technology can be used to solve global hunger! Plus it can aid in humanities journey in to the stars. Did I mention dinosaurs? I am personally going to program a pigmy triceratops to roam around my spaceship as I collect space junk.