His safety program beeped. The possible immortality RNAs did not trigger any bad processes for the average human cell… that is the average human cell modeled by the program. No necrosis or apoptosis or deadly cell replication. All was not lost.
Next, he just needed to get the malaria parasites read by the Church, then he could print them with the instructions for the RNA added to their genome.
Once the synthetic cells were fabricated, he’d have to grow them up, which would take a few days, before he would have to inject them into his bloodstream.
To start the reading process, he pipetted the red blood cells with the parasites in them into the Church.
One microfluidic channel filled with a portion of the sample and Matteo watched through the clear acrylic as the cells lysed, morphing into a clear-red solution, which turned colorless in a downstream chamber. In a few hours, the genome sequence would be assembled, along with a topographical map of each membrane of the cell.
The other portion of the sample flew down a second channel where it was bombarded it with radiation. Subsequently, an alternative lysis program began, changing the coloration to banded browns and yellows, and finally light blue. In about the same amount of time, the protein content was known to fair approximation in three dimensions, as well as the orientation of the chromosomes.
He typed in the four RNA sequences that were unique in Concha and the mystery sample 15. They had to get inserted on some part of the chromosomes that wouldn’t interfere drastically with the way the DNA normally directed the ongoing business of the cell.
The Church software came with a program to determine this, and he wrote a short script to have it run as soon as the reading portion was finished later. It was set to run several thousand Monte Carlo simulations to find the perfect location on the genome for the instructions for the immortality RNAs to be inserted.
Getting a blueprint for immortality malaria was nearly plug and play at this point, but it was going to take more supplies than what was crammed in that suitcase laboratory to scale this up for the long term.
Matteo left the Church glugging in his trailer park to stock supplies from the nearest Texas Thrift Outlet. He picked up a hotplate and a small document safe to construct an incubator to grow cells. The centrifuge that came in the Concha’s kit was too small for proper blood vials, so he designed a larger one by connecting a power drill to a saw blade, where tubes of cells could be held in place by packing tape.
When he got back to the trailer, his glowscreen showed summary statistics for the accuracy for the malaria genome (99.9992%) as well as the position for where to insert the sequence for the RNAs: chromosome six, beginning at base 68,372, in tandem.
Milestones one and two achieved. Synthetic malaria designed to confer immortality was a go.
He used a pipette to carefully transfer three microliters of crisper into the unit and then clicked print on the glowscreen. Estimated time for building the cells was 16 hours. By then he’d need to have the culture part of the lab ready to go.
He got to work putting together his new lab, cleaning every surface in the mobile home and every instrument twice with Fabuloso. A quick trip to Home Depot and he was able to replace all air filters in the trailer, and installed UV lamps to switch on in his absence for even higher cleanliness.
Finally, he sat on the steps in front of his door and rested, watching the sun set behind the trash mounds of his new neighborhood. Aside from the generators in the morning, occasional dog barking and muffled, indoor arguments from neighbors, it was quiet.