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It seems like everything is going wireless these days. That now includes efforts to reprogram the human genome.

 

A new University at Buffalo-led study describes how researchers wirelessly controlled FGFR1 -- a gene that plays a key role in how humans grow from embryos to adults -- in lab-grown brain tissue.

 

The ability to manipulate the gene, the study's authors say, could lead to new cancer treatments, and ways to prevent and treat mental disorders such as schizophrenia.

 

The work -- spearheaded by UB researchers Josep M. Jornet, Michal K. Stachowiak, Yongho Bae and Ewa K. Stachowiak -- was reported in the June edition of the Proceedings of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.

 

It represents a step forward toward genetic manipulation technology that could upend the treatment of cancer, as well as the prevention and treatment of schizophrenia and other neurological illnesses. It centers on the creation of a new subfield of research the study's authors are calling "optogenomics," or controlling the human genome through laser light and nanotechnology.

 

"The potential of optogenomic interfaces is enormous," says co-author Josep M. Jornet, PhD, associate professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering in the UB School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. "It could drastically reduce the need for medicinal drugs and other therapies for certain illnesses. It could also change how humans interact with machines."

This is a huge breakthrough. To read more, click here.