Recombinant rainbow poop diagnostics
April 27, 2011 8:14 AM   Subscribe

The E. chromi project is forging ahead with its plan, using recombinant bacteria to detect and display disease states of the human body in your toilet. posted by Blasdelb (18 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
Yes! I've been asking for this for years! (Except for the unleashing genetically engineered bacterial rainbows part. I was just thinking of those nano-tube chemical computer dealies.)
posted by DU at 8:16 AM on April 27, 2011

To be clear this is not a concept that is actually that new, but there are a few more tools now available and this is a neat presentation of what is possible. Even if there are a few lawns these kids should be more careful of stomping on
posted by Blasdelb at 8:17 AM on April 27, 2011

2039?! Pfff.

There are two dangerous parts there. One, ingesting the detectors and two, flushing them down the toilet into the environment. You can fix both of these. First, put the detectors in the toilet in the first place. Second, mix with bleach or better yet irradiate with UV light.

Get on that, science. I'm placing my pre-order for a rainbow toilet right now.
posted by DU at 8:31 AM on April 27, 2011

This post is making OCD MEfites around the world have their heads explode with terror and not in a good way.

Red clouds would have to be necessary anywhere there was a war or a performance of Henry V.
posted by Skygazer at 8:34 AM on April 27, 2011

oh, Skygazer, like you never took a UV lite to the hotel bed to look for biological stains ...
posted by k5.user at 8:36 AM on April 27, 2011 [2 favorites]

Wait'll you see what the bidet does...
posted by ZenMasterThis at 9:04 AM on April 27, 2011 [1 favorite]

"Awesome, I'm shitting rainbows!"
"No, man. That means you've got 30 more minutes to live."
posted by yeloson at 9:25 AM on April 27, 2011 [4 favorites]

Won't Somebody Think Of The Children?

posted by Fraxas at 9:35 AM on April 27, 2011

Poopsi blue
posted by zippy at 9:41 AM on April 27, 2011 [5 favorites]

Jeez. I was hoping no one would find out about the human body in my toilet.
posted by Multicellular Exothermic at 9:55 AM on April 27, 2011 [5 favorites]

why does vimeo embed never work for me? it's so annoying.
posted by symbioid at 10:11 AM on April 27, 2011

That's one rainbow I wouldn't want to taste.
posted by symbioid at 10:14 AM on April 27, 2011 [2 favorites]

That's one rainbow I wouldn't want to taste.

Well done for avoiding the lower forms of humour by referring to them as either "Shittles" or "Scattles".

I, however, lack any sort of shame and am perfectly content to make these weakly offensive puns.
posted by longbaugh at 10:25 AM on April 27, 2011 [1 favorite]

Wow, that iGEM site is sweet cuppin' cakes! Synthetic Biology is a profoundly interesting area of science, and I'm glad (if occasionally unnerved) to see it's been developing quite rapidly. Last I heard, they were still working with pretty basic stuff - fluorescence and timers - and one of the only programs was at MIT. Now you can learn about it from Phips the Phage courtesy of Team Heidelberg, one of over 100 labs participating in this international project. Way cool.

Hey, look! The Parts Registry has some sequences for synthesizing terpenoids...Well-known terpenoids include citral, menthol, camphor, Salvinorin A in the plant Salvia divinorum, and the cannabinoids found in Cannabis.[1]

I hope the DoE isn't too picky about definitions; I might even be able to get some grant money for designing some new "green fuel"-producing bacteria. (I kid) Or how about a bacteria that, when placed on a piece of (pre-moistened) sugar-infused paper, turns into rainbow-colored organic patterns and produces "magic natural compounds"?

In all seriousness, though, I'm really interested in seeing how the legal system would go about addressing bacteria that are designed to produce currently-illegal pharmaceuticals. Certainly the bacteria themselves do not contain the illicit substance, and although they could be prosecuted as producing this illicit substance (thus allowing bacteria in a sugar solution to be guilty of manufacturing with intent to distribute), there would also have to be ways to distinguish between substances produced in the course of other natural processes. As an example, people with ASD and Schizophrenia (as well as neurotypicals) are known to secrete Bufotenine (a Schedule I drug) in their urine. As far as I know, no one has been prosecuted for it, but it's certainly an interesting concept.
posted by nTeleKy at 1:13 PM on April 27, 2011

Gah, I seem to be a molecular biology hipster. I heard of iGEM before it was cool. BioBricks is for people who can't handle real cloning.
posted by maryr at 1:33 PM on April 27, 2011 [1 favorite]

BioBricks is for people who can't handle real cloning.

Fantastic! Where the hell can I get some?

(I went through, like, a tablespoon of T4 DNA ligase last summer and I'm still a little twitchy.)
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 2:06 PM on April 27, 2011

"BioBricks is for people who can't handle real cloning."

I've got to admit, I LOLed a little
posted by Blasdelb at 3:18 PM on April 27, 2011

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