A Fast, Programmable Molecular Clock

October 31, 2008 | Source: Technology Review

UC San Diego bioengineers have created the first stable, fast, and programmable genetic clock that reliably keeps time by the blinking of fluorescent proteins inside E. coli cells.

(UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering)

(UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering)

To create the clock, UC San Diego scientists genetically engineered a molecular oscillator composed of multiple gene promoters, which turn genes on in the presence of certain chemicals, and genes themselves, one of which codes for a fluorescent protein. When expressed in E. coli bacteria, the feedback system turns the fluorescent gene on and off at regular intervals.