Over the past decade, there has been a lot of interest in studying the information-theoretic aspects of DNA sequences. For instance, the seminal work carried out by the French researcher Gerard Battail has shown that any DNA strand can be viewed as a codeword in the context of error-control coding theory. The presence of redundant information embedded in DNA strands, which is the inherent feature of codewords in coding theory, explains why mutations and other defects, that constantly appear inside DNA strands, can be corrected in real time by all living organisms.
Thanks to the recent advent of gene-editing technologies, e.g., the CRISPR-Cas9 system that has received a great deal of attention since the introduction of the first mRNA-based genetic therapies in November 2020, it is now possible to change some parts of a DNA sequence in a practical setting. Using these gene-editing technologies in conjunction with the core principles of traditional coding theory, it should be possible to modify DNA sequences to increase their resilience against mutations. As these mutations are the root cause of many degenerative diseases, one can now realistic think of engineering biological systems and organisms with increased lifespans.
The PhD work would consist of studying the applications of coding theory to the design of more resilient DNA strands using the CRISPR-Cas9. The goal would be to provide a general theory of this very promising field of research.
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Dr Stephane Le Goff
Email : [Email Address Removed]