World’s First Synthetic Yeast Chromosome Developed by Scientists
World's first synthetic yeast genome has been developed by international team of scientists by modifying yeast chromosome from scratch. After performing extensive tinkering of the chromosome, researchers have successfully incorporated designer chromosomes into living cells of yeast.
In a seven-year research, researchers used computer-aided designs to construct one of 16 chromosomes in brewer's yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae.
Jef Boeke, of New York University's Langone Medical Center, said the newly developed chromosome is most extensively altered chromosome capable of performing new features that are not available in existing chromosomes. The interesting fact is that scientists have been able to build synthetic chromosome in a eukaryote i.e. organism containing nucleus inside cells.
They have developed slimmed-down version of naturally occurring chromosome III version of yeast containing 316,667 base pairs. Chromosome III was selected by scientists because of its small size and its capability to control mating of yeast cell.
Boeke said that the synthetic yeast looks completely similar to that of wild yeast except of some new features which the wild yeast lacks. The magical property involved in new synthetic gene is its ability to rearrange its structure and can generate millions of variant chromosomes.
Jim Collins, of Boston University, said that the Boeke's work, 'tour-de-force in synthetic biology' applies the principles of engineering to living systems, which could help modify and engineer DNA.
The findings would help researchers in developing new strains of organisms that will produce industrial chemicals, medicines and biofuels like alcohol, butanol, and biodiesel.
Lei Wang, assistant Prof. in the Chemical Biology and Proteomics Laboratory at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, California has expressed satisfaction over the development as it could lead to further research on the topic.
Some other researchers have also done tremendous job by synthesizing bacterium and viral DNA. Researchers from U.S., Britain, China and India are endeavoring to build synthetic versions of all of the organism's 16 chromosomes by 2017.
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