A team of scientists based in the United Kingdom has just achieved one of the greatest achievements in the history of artificial biologyafter managing to develop for the first time a yeast cell, which is capable of surviving and multiplying like natural cells, but with more than half of its genome created in a laboratory.
The researchers, who have just published their results in the journal Cell Genomicsthey have managed to build one of the 16 chromosomes of the yeast genome and insert it into a natural cell. Dr. Ben Blount, professor at the School of Life Sciences at the University of Nottingham, and one of the main signatories of the project, said that this discovery “will open up an enormous range of possibilities, from the creation of new microbial strains for a more ecological bioproduction, to helping us understand and combat diseases.
Yeast was the organism chosen for the project because it has a relatively compact genome, and the innate ability to join DNA, allowing researchers to build synthetic chromosomes within yeast cells.
The chromosome, known as ‘Sc2.0’, has seen the light after 15 years of work and the participation of teams from around the world (UK, US, China, Singapore, UK, France and Australia), who have worked together to create synthetic versions of all yeast chromosomes.
Humans have a long history with yeast, the researchers explain, having domesticated it for baking and brewing for thousands of years and, more recently, for chemical production or as a model organism for how our own cells work. This means that We know more about the genetics of yeast than any other organism.which made her the obvious candidate.