February 17, 2016

The next leap in synthetic life

"It took geneticist Craig Venter 15 years and US$40 million to synthesize the genome of a bacterial parasite. Today, an academic team made up mostly of undergraduate students reports the next leap in synthetic life: the redesign and production of a fully functional chromosome from the baker’s yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae.

As a eukaryote, a category that includes humans and other animals, S. cerevisiae has a more complex genome than Venter's parasite. "

“I wasn’t sceptical about whether it could be done,” Boeke says. The question, he explains, was: “How can we make this different from a normal chromosome and put something into it that’s really going to make it worthwhile?”

Nature - First synthetic yeast chromosome revealed

BBC - Scientists hail synthetic chromosome advance

Wiki - Yeast artificial chromosome

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