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First chromosome made synthetically from yeast

Work is major step toward lab-created eukaryotic life-form

2:05pm, March 27, 2014

RISE UP  Baker’s yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, seen under a microscope, ferment fruit and grain into alcohol and make bread rise. Now researchers have taken the first step toward making a synthetic version of the organism that may perform feats regular yeast never could.

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

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