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NDSU Science Café to Examine Potential of Designer Genes

Fargo, N.D. — Imagine washing down a prescription pill with some orange juice at breakfast. By lunchtime, a fleet of designer genes is released into the blood stream, targets diseased cells and infiltrates them. By the afternoon, the genes have completed their interrogation of the billions of DNA sequences in diseased cells to bind and fix, with 100 percent accuracy, the mutated gene causing a disease.

“By the time you drift off to Jay Leno, your genetic disease is cured,” said Glenn Dorsam, assistant professor in NDSU’s Department of Veterinary and Microbiological Science.

The vision may be closer to reality than some think. Dorsam will discuss the developing field of designer genes in “Finally, Designer Genes That Won’t Make You Look Fat and May Save Your Life” on Tuesday, March 12, at 7 p.m. in Stoker’s Basement, Hotel Donaldson.

“I would like to convey the history of scientists using this technology—mistakes, breakthroughs and disease intervention,” Dorsam said. “Also, I’ll talk about some fun facts about DNA and how our cells work.”

Through new techniques, scientists are able to replace diseased DNA sequences with healthy DNA sequences in order to combat disease, including HIV.

“The take-home message is that it’s extraordinary to be able to manipulate the blueprint that makes our bodies,” Dorsam said. “We can do that in real time after we’re born by correcting genetic mutations and genetic errors.” 

The presentation is part of the NDSU College of Science and Mathematics’ Science Café series. Each month, a scientist presents on a different topic and time is allowed for discussion with the scientist and other attendees. Attendees must be 21 or older or accompanied by a parent or guardian.

NDSU is recognized as one of the nation’s top 108 public and private research universities by the Carnegie Commission on Higher Education.

Student Focused. Land Grant. Research University.

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Physical/delivery address:  1735 NDSU Research Park Drive/Fargo, ND 58102
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