Proteins by design; Beetlejuice; Getting ahead of the ethics curve
Protein structure, the three-dimensional folding of a string of amino acids, determines protein function. Thus a knowledge of protein structure is essential to rational drug design, and manipulating protein structure could allow the generation of new or altered functions. However, the ability to predict structure from a primary amino acid sequence remains an elusive Holy Grail. X-ray crystallography currently is the only sure-fire way to elucidate a protein's structure, though there are less time-consuming methods such as circular dichroism and nuclear magnetic resonance that give an idea of what a protein looks like.
Now researchers at the California Institute of Technology have