tanarill: (Science!)
[personal profile] tanarill
I’m making a note here: HUGE SUCCESS.
It’s hard to overstate my satisfaction.
Aperture Science
We do what we must
because we can.
For the good of all of us.
Except the ones who are dead.
But there’s no sense crying over every mistake.
You just keep on trying till you run out of cake.
And the Science gets done.
And you make a neat gun.
For the people who are still alive.

Ok. So the problem is: codons. A codon is the three-nucleotide-long section of DNA that a ribosome reads as "this specific amino acid." There are sixty-four codons; three of them mean "stop making protein." The other sixty-one code for amino acids. There are twenty amino acids, so obviously each amino acid has more than one codon. Basically everything on the planet reads codons the same way; it doesn't matter if you are en E. coli or a Homo sapiens, AGG codes for the amino acid arginine.

However, and this is a real kicker, different species use the codons with different frequencies. We humans like using AGG when we need an arginine; E. coli use AGG less than one half of one percent of time. They would rather use any other arginine codon, basically. And this is problematic, because if you ask an E. coli to make a human protein, but the gene that you are using contains too many codons that E. coli hates, it will simply refuse to make said protein.

We were unable to get the bacteria to make our protein. We ordered a "codon-fixed" gene, which produces all of amino acids, and in the right order, but using codons that E. coli prefers. It finally came last week. After magically getting that gene into the bacteria, we have finally gotten them to make our protein. Pics to follow.
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