The code of life is one of the most important resources of all. DNA molecules provide valuable active ingredients and enzymes, and programme microorganisms to filter precious metals from waste streams, for example. Biotechnology supplements this natural ‘code diversity’, and makes targeted improvements to provide results that nature cannot deliver alone.
The Human Genome Project launched in 1990 took more than 10 years and ate up roughly USD 3 billion to read a complete human genome. Today, this can be done in a number of days for a fraction of that sum. Modern sequencing equipment is fuelling this ongoing race to break the current record. BRAIN researcher Dr Paul Scholz explains what Next-Generation Sequencing (NGS) is all about. Our colleagues Dr Alex Pelzer and Dr Klaus Liebeton also present technologies that speed up the process and have been customised by BRAIN – the buzzwords here are big data, 3D modelling and protein engineering.
Dr Anna Eichhorn, CEO of humatrix AG and member of BRAIN’s Supervisory Board, impressively describes how knowledge of our genetic individuality is growing, and how new approaches to personalised nutrition are emerging. Paula Troxler provided the colourful illustrations for this article.
And the journey is not over yet. So far, the code of life has only been decoded for a few per cent of the millions of species presumed to live on Earth. The code appears to be of infinite interest and also inspires the world of art. In his lead-in to this issue of BLICKWINKEL, Antonio Alves Felizardo presents the results he obtained by manipulating his photographs using systematised codes.