Researchers from Stanford University have finally created the world’s first complete computer model of an organism. After useing research from 900 publications and accounting over 1900 parameters, they finally successfully simulated the human pathogen, Mycoplasma genitalium. It is usually find in respiratory and urinary tracts of human beings and has the simplest genome of any free-living organism. NIH Director’s Pioneer Award partly funded the research and study.
James M. Anderson, director of the National Institutes of Health Division of Program Coordination, Planning and Strategic Initiatives said, ”This achievement demonstrates a transforming approach to answering questions about fundamental biological processes. Comprehensive computer models of entire cells have the potential to advance our understanding of cellular function and, ultimately, to inform new approaches for the diagnosis and treatment of disease.”
The study took vast amount of data and lots of computing power to be successful. The scientists are building a phenotype, which basically means they are building a model based on observed behaviors or expressions in this organism. After analyzing 900 scientific papers about molecular interaction in the life cycle of Mycoplasma genitalium. They observed things in the computer model that would be hard to see in the real thing. They also reexamined the experimental data.
Wide the possibilities of computer aided bio-engineering have been open up by this research. It would enable researchers to simulate entire organisms and be able to predict what certain genes will do under certain conditions. This has many uses in pharmaceuticals and even personalized medicine. However, the research needs a bit more work and so it would take a bit more time.