Synthesizing DNA, David Goeddel

Interviewee: David Goeddel. David Goeddel talks about the strategy Genentech used in making synthetic insulin. (DNAi Location: Manipulation > Production > Players > David Goeddel > The Genentech way)

And in those days fragments of DNA up to, say, twenty nucleotides could be synthesized. DNA comes as a, is double-stranded so you need two complementary strands to make a functional molecule. Chemically you synthesize them only as a single strand and then you synthesize the complementary strand, and you stitch them together in pieces using various enzymes to hook them together, actually make the connections. Quite different than isolating a natural gene or various enzymatic tricks to make a copy of a natural gene. Very few labs that could do it, there were a few, and I felt when I was a chemist doing it, it was actually very boring chemistry. Took a long time, things could go wrong, and it was a great advantage Genentech had early, was having Keiichi Itakura with a lab that was really good at doing this.

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