Work is major step toward lab-created eukaryotic life-form
Designer organisms have crept closer to reality. Scientists have stitched together a version of a yeast chromosome. It is the first synthetic chromosome ever assembled from a eukaryotic organism, the type in which cells store DNA in nuclei.
Other groups have previously synthesized chromosomes from bacteria, but this is the first step in designing synthetic eukaryotes.
Researchers from Johns Hopkins University, including a small army of undergraduate students, and colleagues report the achievement March 27 in Science. The synthetic chromosome is based on chromosome III from the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, but it is not an exact replica.
In creating the synthetic version, researchers jettisoned some of the chromosome’s extra baggage. These parts include gene-interrupting pieces of DNA called introns, genes that produce protein-building molecules