[ExI] Myostatin-inhibitor patron

Bryan Bishop kanzure at gmail.com
Tue May 26 19:51:51 UTC 2009

On Tue, May 26, 2009 at 1:54 PM, Dan <dan_ust at yahoo.com> wrote:
> Just curious:  What's your current estimate for this project?  (I think it'd require more than just care and feeding of several pet mice -- a control group and a study group at least.  Wouldn't there also be lab fees and the cost of the inhibitors?)

Sorry, no current estimate. I like to cut corners when it comes to
buying and building lab equipment, so estimations are hard to do.
Yesterday, I was talking with a fellow who told me that this project
would cost millions of dollars (I couldn't stop laughing). In the case
of academic labs, you have to hire graduate students, maybe some
undergrads, a post-doc or doctorate student, write lots of grants,
have your accountant etc., etc., lab fees, material fees, etc. I can
imagine the costs adding up very quickly in that sort of environment.

So, in the design of an animal-testing experiment (which I think comes
much later), there definitely would be a control group and a study
group, but not only that but multiple batches. I'll need to go review
my statistics to figure out where exactly I should draw the line as to
how many batches or how many different critters I should be raising to
get a reasonable idea, but basically I really would like to find a
correlation without sidestepping the statistics.

Making the inhibitors is partly the secret weapon of the whole-ordeal.
In typical drug development pipelines, you might have ridiculously
large batch processing facilities in factories for large-scale
pharmacological synthesis. In my case, I'm not interested in that.
There are a few different vectors worth exploring. One is a phenomena
known as rhizosecretion, where transgenic proteins literally "weep"
out from the roots of, say, Taraxacum officinale (dandelions) or into
the latex (the white-y substance you see when you peel open leaves).
Gardening is a very wide-spread past-time- growing these dandelions is
not a problem :-). The transfection of the dandelions with the right
DNA potentially involves the agrobacterium technique (among others).
Agrobacterium is a bacteria that causes crown gall in trees. You might
have seen trees that look like they "have cancer"- that's the effect
of agrobacterium. In the soil, at the roots, agrobacterium is able to
inject circular DNA into the plant cells. This DNA is what causes the
"cancerous growth" that you see on the side of trees that look like
they need radiation therapy :-). You can harvest agrobacterium out in
the woods, isolate it through some ridiculously lengthy and tedious
procedure, and transfect the agrobacterium with new DNA through a
freeze-thaw process instead of the typical calcium chloride
transfection protocols, or using .22-calibre DNA/gene guns, or
electroporators, sonoporators, etc. etc. Then you cultivate the
agrobacterium with the dandelion seeds, breed them for a few
generations, and select for the individuals that have the correct DNA.
This is made easier when you can code for flower color, or something-
GFP is one way to do it, it's a green fluorescent protein. Anyway, I'd
have to either buy or build the equipment for the freeze-thraw
transfection process, the dandelion garden, the agrobacterium
incubator, agrobacterium isolation tools, and of course (perhaps one
of the most costly items of this all) the DNA for the myostatin
inhibitor. Straight-up synthesizing it and ordering it over the web is
costly. Manually pipetting the chemicals to synthesize the DNA will
not work. It will take forever that way :-). Another option is to
order a shorter sequence of DNA from the internet (primers) and use
these with human DNA to extract the protein of interest. It turns out
that the inhibitor is in the human genome. Ultimately you can think of
it as just using a plant to turn on the gene for us instead of our own

To be blunt, I am not a fan of lab fees.

- Bryan
1 512 203 0507

More information about the extropy-chat mailing list