Synthetic Biology Yachie Laboratory
DNA as a recoding device of biological events
How do our bodies develop from single fertilized eggs? What kind of different molecules are functioning in each cell of our bodies?
As far as scientists know, any living system is composed of cell(s). Functions of cells are conferred by a large amount of molecules that interact and crosstalk. In multicellular organisms, cells of different types communicate and cooperate to stabilize or robustly bifurcate the cell states as a system.
However, not surprisingly, current biotechnologies allow us to observe only the events that exist when the observation happens. From samples of individuals or tumors, one cannot derive information on their developmental processes or past statuses. Especially in molecular biology, we need to sacrifice the sample in order to analyze their molecular status. This obviously prevents us to analyze temporal dynamics of a same individual or a same cell in many aspects.
Genetic information is stably stored in cellular chromosome(s) which DNA sequence can be represented digitally by four letters A, C, G and T. Our research group is developing methods to dynamically record cellular and molecular events in a synthetic DNA material that is stably integrated in the cells. Harnessing DNA barcode, genome editing, DNA sequencing and computational approaches, we develop technologies to retrospectively derive information about previous status of the observation target from a synthetic DNA and study the issues that we have not been able to address, such as whole-body developmental cell lineages, macromolecular interaction networks and clonal dynamics of heterogeneous tumor cell populations.
Specialized field：Synthetic biology, Systems biology, Computational biology