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back to article Bio-boffins create world's first digital STD

A bacterium that in humans can cause genital pain, itching, and a burning sensation while urinating has become the subject of the first-ever complete software simulation of an entire organism, the New York Times reports. The simulation is the work of a team of boffins from Stanford University and the J. Craig Venter Institute, …

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Wow

The program that might cure cancer's first experience was a dose of clap!

Really good news, long term this might solve the worlds health problems.

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Now for the apps

Cool. Will this become the next Tamagotchi pet?

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serious coding

now how does one know if the coding is correct ? Even if it is only 80% right, still a laudable achievement.

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Actually...

It's probably fairly simple code. After all this works at at an atomic level. They might have taken an "off the shelf" chemical simulator.

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some assembly required

"You don't really understand how something works until you can reproduce it yourself,"

Actually, reverse engineer it yourself. Sort of. Except they don't understand now all the little pieces work, or the cell wall all that well, and sort of ignored the information in the intracellular space, and.... but still, what was done is more than existed before.

Better than the syntho life wankers who completely ignore the cell wall as being trivial and immutable, you know, of the same ilk that claimed that the "junk" DNA never does anything.

Anyone who has done any firmware knows that it is that little piece you don't understand that will always byte you in the arse, or in their case, a chomp in a pubic place.

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"You don't really understand how something works until you can reproduce it yourself," and maybe not even then... most organisms, including most humans, reproduce without understanding, but with more work like this we'll get there in the end.

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Anonymous Coward

In late-breaking news

Due to a misunderstanding by a programmer at McAfee, all copies of this program and results were inadvertently deleted following an automatic upgrade.

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Models? Pfft

Just creating a model of something doesn't prove that you've got it right. You need to do a lot of experiments to fine tune the model to make it match reality. Many models are too simplistic and don't take into account sometimes very minor details. A bit like the climate models which are all saying that the end of the world is nigh, but ever since 1998 reality has refused to stay in step with the models.

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Re: Models? Pfft

True, but this is still a great accomplishment. A simple biological entity is probably much, MUCH more complex than the world's climate. I have considerable experience in computational biology, and the complexity is simply staggering.

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Re: Models? Pfft

@The Axe

Nice to know we've got a real modelling expert. Obliged to irrelevantly extend his opinion to climate change as well, hallmark of a true polymath.

@Filippo

leaning in under the shadow of the true master here, I wonder if climate & biological simulations are in any way comparable. Climate has potential feedback loops that may cause it to be unstable and we've only got one, living things must alway move to internally stable states or they'd simply be unable to live, plus we've got lots and we can observe as many as we'd like (ie. we have a lot more certainty about how they actually behave).

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Pfft? Pfft

You seem to be misunderstanding the meaning of the term "model". A model does not match reality, by definition. If it did, it wouldn't be a model. Models omit minor details on purpose, not by accident. For instance, I can navigate from my house to Edinburgh using a model of the country called a road map, despite its omission of every blade of grass on the journey. The required resolution of the model is implied by its usage. The same road map would be useless if I wanted to build a 3D model of the road from my house to Edinburgh down to the individual curves and drains and white lines (although I could invent much of that data, and the model would still be useful for gaming).

So what's missing from this story is the purpose of this model; without knowing that (and it doesn't seem to have one) it's hard to say whether they've done a good job of building it or not. But one might posit that the main use for such a model would be to determine exactly which minor details they now need to add to get a reasonable approximation of the real cell (for some given purpose ...)

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Holmes

DAT COMPLEXITY!

...even after having dropped the whole layer of quantum mechanical effects which are bound to play a role in edge cases.

Nice.

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TopDog

Will my computers anti-virus work to protect it from this infection?

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Coat

"and we're sorry to report that it can be transmitted sexually"

That probably wont bother or affect too many people who read this story here. ;)

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Coat

Why does it hurt when I pee?

Why does it hurt when I pee?

Downloaded it from Stanford University

Why does it hurt when I pee?

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Happy

Re: Why does it hurt when I pee?

Oh God!

I probably got the, gonococococcus. Twang.

I got it from the toilet seat...

With apologies to the late, great, Frank Zappa.

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Anonymous Coward

Gives a whole new meaning to

Blue Scream of Death.

AC/DC

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