Scientists Get Closer To Further Synthetic Biology Breakthrough By Creating A Fully Synthetic Genome [VIDEO]By Anne Collins, UniversityHerald Reporter
Synthetic biology has moved one step closer to synthesizing genomes of yeast, also known as Saccharomyces cerevisiae. The single-celled eukaryotes have been used by humans for wide varieties of applications. Now scientists have turn to yeast and used it in bioengineering to create synthetic organisms that will help make new kinds of drugs and fuels.
The international team of researchers has announced last Thursday that they were able to synthesize six of yeast's 16 chromosomes. They have found a way to design the chromosomes and synthesize yeast's genetic code. The study was published in the journal Science.
The Gulf Times reported, lead researcher Jef Boeke, director of New York University Langone's Institute for Systems Genetics said over 30% of a living organism's genetic material can be substituted with artificial code. The yeast project is collaboration known as the Synthetic Yeast 2.0 project. Researchers aim to finish synthesizing the ten remaining chromosomes and reach 100% by the end of the year.
The genetically engineered yeast is a eukaryote, which is a complex cell with diverse internal structures similar to cells in the human body. It is known to have more genetic material than the bacteria synthesized by the Venter Institute and Harvard projects.
Daniel Gibson, vice president of DNA technologies at Synthetic Genomics said that the study will help further understand how to design cells that can be used for many applications. Although, some biologists and environmentalists such as Todd Kuiken from North Carolina State University's Genetic Engineering and Society Center, worry that synthetic organisms once the invasive species are introduced to a different environment that it may have a big impact on the system.
They have assured concerned biologists that they are operating under safe and ethical conditions. George Church, a prominent Harvard University geneticist said being able to edit on single genes this may pave way to a new era of being able to write whatever we want throughout the genome according to The Futurism.