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Scientists move closer to building synthetic yeast from scratch

Five more chromosomes assembled, 10 to go

2:00pm, March 9, 2017
Saccharomyces cerevisiae yeast

BUDDING STAR  With five more synthetic chromosomes built, scientists are closer to creating a synthetic genome for Saccharomyces cerevisiae yeast (shown).

Synthetic yeast is on the rise.

Scientists have constructed five more yeast chromosomes from scratch. The new work, reported online March 9 in Science, brings researchers closer to completely lab-built yeast. 

“We’re doing it primarily to learn a little more about how cells are wired,” says geneticist Jef Boeke of the New York University Langone Medical Center. But scientists might also be able to tinker with a synthetic yeast cell more efficiently than a natural one, allowing more precise engineering of everything from antiviral drugs to biofuels.

Boeke was part of a team that reported the first synthetic yeast chromosome in 2014 (SN: 5/3/14, p. 7). Now, several hundred scientists in five countries are working to make all 16

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