Some of the research in biotechnology these days is starting to sound a little too much like Neil Stephenson to be taken seriously. Nature reports today that researchers at Berkeley have discovered methods for controlling gene expression with light. At current, heat and chemical methods are the only techniques used to operate gene expression.
Meanwhile, here in the Media Lab, Joe Jacobson has been controlling DNA synthesis using a remote control: after attaching a few gold atoms to the butt of an RNA molecule, they have been able to control gene transcription with electromagnetic waves. What’s next? Nanobot mind control? Human-animal hybrids?? Computers that can TALK?! If this is the direction that science is heading, then I’m going to start calling myself a sociologist.
NSU: Light switch turns genes on and off
Nature: Nanotechnology: Flip the switch