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Thread: Possibility of using nanotechnology to create human cells?

  1. #1 Possibility of using nanotechnology to create human cells? 
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    Hi everyone,

    I didn't know whether to put this in the biology or physics section, so in the end I went for general discussion.

    I'm researching a novel. I hope one or two of you could help me with an idea, or point me toward some relevant research material.

    It seems to me that most of the suggestions when it comes to nanotechnology and human biology is for 'nanobots' to be directed through the body, killing viruses and tumours, repairing aged or damaged cells, but is there any scope for using nanotechnology to replicate human cells (blood cells, brain cells)? In this way, may we be able to harness their self-replicating possibilities to grow organs or replenish lost blood?

    An extension to this question would be to ask whether it may be possible to grow whole organisms this way?

    Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

    Best,
    Rup


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  3. #2 Re: Possibility of using nanotechnology to create human cell 
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    Quote Originally Posted by RupertM
    Hi everyone,

    I didn't know whether to put this in the biology or physics section, so in the end I went for general discussion.

    I'm researching a novel. I hope one or two of you could help me with an idea, or point me toward some relevant research material.

    It seems to me that most of the suggestions when it comes to nanotechnology and human biology is for 'nanobots' to be directed through the body, killing viruses and tumours, repairing aged or damaged cells, but is there any scope for using nanotechnology to replicate human cells (blood cells, brain cells)? In this way, may we be able to harness their self-replicating possibilities to grow organs or replenish lost blood?

    An extension to this question would be to ask whether it may be possible to grow whole organisms this way?

    Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

    Best,
    Rup
    http://www.mirm.pitt.edu/


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  4. #3  
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    This is not my major field.

    There have been many blistering debates about repairing damaged brains and growing organs by using stem cells of the own body. Nanotechnology is just at its dawn and to what I know, building a cell would take a considerably long time (don't know exactly how long) The work is to bound atoms to a cell. Go figure: how many atoms are needed to make a cell?

    However, there is a prospect in creating coal strings that conduct electricity. This will enable us to reduce the weight of high-tech things, especially airplanes and spaceships will get rid of 30% of its weight.
    Scientia Vis
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  5. #4  
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    Thanks for your replies

    http://www.mirm.pitt.edu/ - this is interesting, but not really relevant to the question I asked.

    T.T.T - good point about it working at an atomic scale. I guess any kind of automated 'nanobot cell' would have to be molecularly 'identical' to a real cell, in terms of manipulating amino acids, generating proteins, DNA replication, etc.

    I guess what I'm thinking about is how closely technology could/should mimic the organic world in terms of cellular reproduction: could as in the feasibility of such things; should as in would technology supersede/optimise the organic.
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  6. #5  
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    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nanorobotics

    Nanobots - wikipedia

    My teacher keeps warning us about the reliability of wikipedia but...

    There are the so-called microbots and macrobots, which are made at the nano-scale and can be considered as nanobots @@ Still, I cannot exactly picture how this would be executed. According to wikipedia, we can cure cancer using nanobots.

    Are you writing a novel or are you criticizing a novel?
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  7. #6  
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    Writing a novel.

    But I don't think this idea's going to fly. Any attempts at replication of organic substances, such as cells, will without doubt be superseded by any nano technology - they may function like organic cells, but they probably wouldn't be designed the same way.

    I think I may stick to simple, known genetics, such as cloning. But thanks anyway for your input. It's an interesting topic.
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  8. #7  
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    Quote Originally Posted by RupertM
    Writing a novel.

    But I don't think this idea's going to fly. Any attempts at replication of organic substances, such as cells, will without doubt be superseded by any nano technology - they may function like organic cells, but they probably wouldn't be designed the same way.

    I think I may stick to simple, known genetics, such as cloning. But thanks anyway for your input. It's an interesting topic.
    The first idea might be a good one but never the best one And what do you mean with "without doubt be superseded by any nanotechnology"? This is a gigantic labour task and nanotechnology has too many applications to be counted. The tools are still limited, waiting for engineers to improve.

    If you persist on developing this idea, you become either a bad joker or a genius, your own path. If you choose the thouroughly-explored field, you will be just another writer.

    What is a living organism being strictly judged by biological criteria? It has to satisfy 7 conditions (reaction, reproduction, metabolism, adaptability, respiration, excretion, I have forgotten the remaining one -____-) There are "orgamisms", correctly said biological units, as virus and bacteria, which are much smaller and less complex than a living plant or animal. Virus is mere a string of DNA, which has the capacity of either stimulate or destroy a organism. Since it is independant from nutrient exchange, it can survive under strict conditions and for a very long time

    To construct one of the likes using nanotech sounds more probable than a whole functioning organism

    I read in WIRED once, a Canadian poet wants to encode a virus his poem. Based on the 10 000 combinations of 4 letters A, G, C, T, he will design the DNA of the virus and if that virus manage to function properly, his poem will last till the extinction of humankind.

    The poet has a bad sense of humour. I hope your attempt will be much better.
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