Oct.18, 2012

Craig Venter, American visionary geneticist and entrepreneur imagines a future with 3D DNA printers where "you can download software, print a vaccine, inject it at home."

"It's a 3-D printer for DNA, a 3-D printer for life," Venter discussed this at the Wired's Health Conference in New York City.

Craig Venter loves the idea of 3d printing robots which can print new life forms. He and his team at the J. Craig Venter Institute in Rockville, Maryland are building a digital-biological converter which convert biological information into digital information like a "teleporter."

"We found a way we can move proteins, viruses and single human cells at the speed of light," he said. "We can digitize biology, send it at the speed of light and reconfigure the biology at the other end. "

Right now, Venter's lab can get a pandemic virus via electromagnetic wave, download it and have a vaccine ready to fight the virus made much sooner, the Atlantic reported.

Venter worked with Mexico City Mayor Marcelo Ebrard during the H1N1 outbreak in 2009. However his effort were delayed because authorities wouldn't allow sending the virus out of the city.

In such a situation, Venter said, if they had been able to digitize the virus, they could have emailed it and researchers and scientists around the world could study it and build a vaccine more quickly.

In an ideal scenario people could download, 3D-print and inject new vaccines when needed.

Venter is not the first to try to 3d-print molecules, but many scientists and also the government don't like the idea that a consumer keep his own genetic data. Instead they prefer to keep them in the hands of experts. The ability to download, print and inject vaccines could lead to many dangerous situation, such as the creation of life-threatening viruses. Furthermore, the inaccurate printing could also "make a printed protein work in a way they didn't intend."


Source: Wired

Image credit: 23andme

Posted in 3D Printers



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