The project will springboard off a process that the GP team recently discovered, called DNA recoding.
Professor Church and colleagues at Harvard showed they could recode the bacteria E. coli. After making 321 changes to the bacterial genome, they could achieve viral resistance.
However, recoding the genome of a plant or mammal would be significantly more ambitious.
‘Recoding every protein in the human genome, for example, would require 400,000 changes,’ says Church.
Specific redundant codons would have to be removed from all 20,000 human genes.
However, the team insist it is doable within 10 years.