Genome writing project aims to rally scientists around virus-proofing cells

The leaders of the Genome Project–write (GP-write) want to spur the community to develop cells that are resistant to viruses. This project is a decadelong effort to reduce by more than 1000-fold the cost of engineering and testing large genomes consisting of hundreds of millions of DNA letters. In the new proposal GP-write leaders say “ultrasafe” cells could be developed by making some 400,000 changes to the human genome. In addition to building collaborations between synthetic biology labs the resulting cells could have a practical use, as resistant cells could help drug companies avoid the pause in production that arises when their cells become infected.