Scientists create ‘designer yeast’ in major step toward synthetic life
Students baked a loaf of bread with engineered yeast that produces carotene, and it came out a lovely orange color.
The Synthetic Yeast GENOME Project is making major progress on the road to building the first fully synthetic complex organism.
In a significant advance toward creating the first “Designer” complex cell, scientists say they are one-third of the way to synthesizing the complete genome of baker’s yeast.
In 2010, scientists at the J. Craig Venter Institute created a bacterial cell controlled by a synthesized genome by copying the DNA of one bacterium into another.
The program allows scientists to rearrange elements within the genome to generate new and potentially useful permutations.
Other innovations in the Sc2.0 genome include the removal of duplicate bits of genetic code and the addition of short genetic sequences that distinguish synthetic chromosomes from their natural counterparts.
Though the Sc2.0 team still has several chromosomes left to generate, the new research provides proof of concept for future genome synthesis projects, and the system has become radically more efficient.
Church speculated that scientists could be heading toward “a post-CRISPR world,” in which, instead of using the heralded gene editing technology to modify chromosomes, scientists will simply synthesize entire new ones.
Originally published at Cogly.