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Designer microbiome: MIT biologists program common gut bacteria

Designer microbiome: MIT biologists program common gut bacteria

Researchers are still studying exactly how the microbiome — the billions of bacteria and other tiny critters that inhabit our bodies — influences human health. But while they get on with that, bioengineers are assembling a tool kit for building designer bacteria that doctors could introduce into the microbiome to diagnose, monitor or even treat disease. This week, a team at MIT said it had taken a step toward that goal by creating synthetic biology tools that can program a common, helpful intestinal bacterium known as Bacteroides thetaiotaomicron. The group inserted custom DNA components into the microbe's genome, much as software engineers insert code into an app....

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