Densmore Team Launches CAD Program for Genome Editing

Sequel to Human Genome Project might spur cancer cures, climate solutions

Associate Professor Doug Densmore (ECE, BME) and colleagues have developed a computer-aided design (CAD) program that will allow genetic engineers to design new microorganisms. The software could pave the way to cures for cancer, as well as solutions in the fight against climate change.

The team announced their technology, Genome Project-write (or GP-write), in an article in IEEE Spectrum.

Doug Densmore (ECE, BME)

“With this CAD program, medical researchers will be able to quickly design hundreds of different genomes with any combination of mutations and send the genetic code to a company that manufactures strings of DNA,” Densmore and colleagues write. “Enabling fast redesign of thousands of variants can only be achieved through automation; at that scale, researchers just might identify the combinations of mutations that are causing genetic diseases,” including cystic fibrosis and most types of cancer.

And that’s just the beginning. Densmore and his fellow developers hope that GP-write might be used to wean society off fossil fuels and limit global warming. “Society could reduce its reliance on petroleum thanks to microorganisms that produce valuable chemicals and materials,” they write. “Users could design microorganisms that ingest and lock up carbon.”

The full article is available on the IEEE Spectrum website.