“Print Life on Mars” Prequel

We all agree that a smarter way of manufacturing is urgently needed to keep up with the rapid growth in the biotech industry. This Nature Biotechnology article took us for a ride to not-too-far-in-the-future, on-demand, small-scale, automated manufacturing of biologics. The scientists at the Synthetic Genomics named this invention digital-to-biological converter (DBC).

Interestingly when I searched more about DBC online, it shows that the inventors are not interested in replacing bench scientists or technicians with DBC. Instead, they have a much BIGGER ambition—collaborate with Elon Musk, “print” life (non-human) on other planets, and make them more habitable for humans! A process they call “biological teleportation.” Let’s see how this DBC prototype works.

DBC paper

What needs to improve?

  1. Introduce portability. Replace large parts with microfluidic and microarray technologies.
  2. Improve the scale of DNA synthesis.
  3. Reduce error rates (right now >70%).

So far, the only failure is the making of the functional antibodies. What can I say? Antibodies are pretty complicated, hard-headed guys. They made me crazy at work too!

Isn’t the whole idea fabulous? Imagine, you might one day type in the organism information here on earth, your little manufacturing factory will receive commands and work on Mars or other planets far far away.

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