Changing the Genetic Code to Improve Biomedicine

By Shaharyar Lakhani

Along with most medical conditions come the high costs of pills and tablets. Even for everyday problems like headaches or pain, people tend to take an Aspirin or Tylenol. Many of these medications have to be taken in large doses or quite frequently in order to produce an effect. This is because the body tends to break down the bonds in these medicines easily. Resultantly, more money is spent on these medications. However, a group of researchers in the Ellington Lab led by Dr. Ross Thyer have found a solution to this problem. Normally, these medications have a dicysteine bond, which is easily broken down in the body. Dr. Thyer and his team replaced the sulfur atom of cysteine with the element immediately below it in the Periodic Table, selenium, which made the bond stronger and longer-lasting in the body, thus increasing the effect and decreasing the dosage.

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