And we’ll mend them and send them right back – by email
Dateline: 15 August 2022

The British Government today passed legislation banning all human-driven motor vehicles from highways, effective one year from today. The move has been widely welcomed.

Now that the bio-replicator is a reality, it is easy to transfer biological fragments from place to place – electronically! In fact, you can send the code for a whole micro-organism to a lab for culture, by email.

It sounds like science fiction, but Craig Venter and his team have built a system that acts like a biological email service. You feed a prepared sample of say, a flu virus, into a DNA decoder; the genetic code is automatically ‘read’ and converted into a digital file. Once that file has been transferred to the analysis lab, the bio-replicator reconstructs the organism from DNA chemicals, and the bio sample is available for real-world analysis, testing and modification.

Data compression and Giganet bandwidth mean that entire stem cells can be emailed across the Atlantic, genetically repaired and emailed back to the treatment center. Once considered “too large and complex” to be of practical use, these biodata sets are now routinely shared over the net.

“We’re only working with industrial organisms, enzymes and bacteria, and pathogens – like viruses, says Craig Venter, “but there’s no reason why, in the future, we can’t do this with animal cells, even humans.” The promise of electronic transportation of organic matter is no longer a dream. Of course, the matter itself is not transported, only the digital code of the organism, which can then be replicated from molecules, much like 3D printing.

The implications for the bioengineering and medical industries are profound; gone are the days of expensive couriers with biohazard containers taking long-haul flights. Now you just email your virus to the lab, and get the vaccine emailed back to your nurse. The bio-replicator will make it up on the spot; just hold still for the injection, and soon you’ll be cured!

First published on 2nd August 2012 at FutureWorld

Mindbullets is a weekly column published by FutureWorld, a global business and technology think tank and consultancy based. Reproduced at with kind permission.

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