1. The Dark Genome
(i) Why did nature choose a particular DNA sequence for making proteins?
(ii) Did she sample every possible genome sequence combination?
(iii) If not, can we artificially express dark genome sequences into functional peptides and proteins?
(iv) If yes, would such ‘lab-made proteins’ be stable and functional?
(v) What will be the best case scenarios and boundary conditions?
The term ‘dark-genome‘ refers to fully dark (non expressing), partially dark (RNA expressing) and virtually dark sequences (pseudogenes) that can be artificially expressed into functional peptides and proteins
(1) Fully dark non expressing DNA (antisense, reverse coding, repetitive sequences, intergenic sequences)
(2) Partially dark RNA encoding genes (tRNA, long ncRNA, ribosomal RNA and introns)
(3) Virtually dark inactivated genes (pseudogenes)
A random walk in the space of dark genome led to the first proof of the concept i.e., synthesis of functional proteins
from intergenic sequences of E.coli (Dhar et al 2009). Subsequently, antimalarial, antimicrobial and anti cancer molecules were produced in the lab using intergenic sequences of E.coli, D.melanogaster and S.cerevisiae. Recently, we made tRNA encoded peptides and reported their strong anti leishmania property. Here is the list of publications.
Currently, we are making functional molecules from reverse coding, antisense sequences, pseudogenes and introns. It is fascinating and intriguing to uncover latent potential of these sequences. We do not know if cells use such molecules in emergency situations. What we know is that dark genome is an untapped goldmine waiting for explorations !
This has led to spinning off "Foresight Biotech Pvt Ltd", a drug discovery company.
2. Regulation of Synthetic Biology
developing a national policy framework towards responsible innovation
Why do we need a policy in synthetic biology ??
Synthetic Biology offers new challenges beyond Recombinant DNA guidelines. For example: chemically synthesizing a genome, expanding genetic code beyond canonical amino acids and making a non natural DNA from non ATGC bases are not genetic modifications. They describe construction of a new system without touching the naturally evolved biological structures.
For more details, you may download Synthetic Biology foresight document HERE The project was funded by Department of Biotechnology, Govt. of India.
7. Sharma P, PK Dhar. Synthetic biology and biodiversity. Asian Biotech Dev. Review 2022: 24(1), 81-82
6. Panda B, PK Dhar. Running and managing shared resources for scientific research: A model from biofoundry. Asian
Biotech Dev. Review 2021: 23 (in press)
5. Verma N, PK Dhar. Navigating the technology landscape in Synthetic Biology Asian Biotech Dev. Review 2021: 23 (3), 13-21
4. Sathyarajan S, B. Pisupati, N.Verma, PK Dhar. Regulating risks in synthetic biology. Asian Biotech Dev. Review 2021: 23 (3)
3. Das M, PK Dhar. What is Synthetic Biology? Asian Biotech Dev Review 2021: 23 93), 5-12
2. Pawan K. Dhar, Satya Prakash Dash, Deepak Singh. Synthetic Biology and the responsible futures. BioVoice 2016: 2, 28-30
1. Singh D and PK Dhar. Exploring the Future of Synthetic Biology in India and its probable pathways from Infancy to
Maturity. Curr Synthetic Sys Biol 2013, 1: 106 download
3. Lab grown meat
slaughter free, environment friendly, safe & affordable source of nutrition
The traditional meat industry slaughters animals for food, consuming 1/3rd of global freshwater leading to generation of greenhouse gases and massive environmental degradation. We are developing technologies to grow meat in the lab without antibiotics / animal slaughter with an aim of delivering eco-friendly, affordable and a safe source of nutrition.
Recently we have developed a general purpose ClearX9 animal cell culture media that can be used to grow a variety of animal and human cells. The culture medium is prepared from natural components, does not involve animal slaughter and shows performance comparable to Fetal Bovine Serum enriched media
The ClearX9 culture medium not only finds application in the cultured meat sector but can also be used in Biotech and Pharma companies, University labs and Research Institutes. Currently ClearX9 is in the product testing phase in several academic institutions.
The Clear Meat Pvt. Ltd. is India’s first lab grown meat company. We plan to roll out ClearX9™️ later this year at a significantly less market price than FBS enriched culture medium. Should you be interested in testing the product (available only in India at the moment), please do not hesitate to write to us (firstname.lastname@example.org)