04 May 2011
Posted in DNA Day
DNA Day is getting closer! After a wonderful recent Earth Day Celebration, I thought it would be appropriate to focus on one of our DNA Day speakers who works with plants. Dr. Henry Daniell of the University of Central Florida has done a number of amazing things with plants by effecting certain areas of their DNA.
One of the more recent mind-blowing projects he’s been working on is getting lettuce to produce insulin. In a Los Angeles new story, (see link below), he described his work as follows:
"This is genetically-modified lettuce," Dr. Daniell explained to Ivanhoe. "Every single cell in the lettuce leaf contains 10,000 copies of this insulin gene." The lettuce can be ground up and made into a powdered capsule. The lettuce plant cells help the insulin reach the intestine. Once the plant cells get there, bacteria slowly break down the cell walls and gradually release insulin into the bloodstream. This creates an immune response in the body and teaches it to release its own insulin. "It is the same insulin that is injected, but here what we are doing is instead of injecting it in the blood system, we are presenting it to the immune cells and then asking the immune cells to see that this is your own protein," Dr. Daniell said. "What we have done is to teach the body how to cure this disorder. This is a totally new concept, a new platform to use this oral delivery system to fix this immune disorder."
Dr Daniell has also worked on increasing the immunity of plants to certain pests and using the ‘lettuce method’ to create vaccines against other diseases.
We are happy to have Dr. Daniell as one of our speakers for DNA Day. If you would like to meet him in person and ask him of few of your own questions, feel free to drop by the Science Center on May 7, our DNA Day. If you would like to learn more about Dr. Daniell at home, check out his UCF website:
Here's a look at the original Los Angeles ABC 7 news story:
Stephanie is a Science Interpreter at the Science Center and often is found in DinoDigs or Careers for Life. Paleontology, Anthropology and Anatomy are her passion and jumps at every opportunity to talk about it. Stop in and say Hello!