An Entirely Synthetic Yeast Genome Is Nearly Complete

Mar 16, 2017

By Carl Engelking

Scientists are five steps closer to synthesizing the entire genome of baker’s yeast, a feat that, once accomplished, will push the field of synthetic biology into a new frontier.

An international team of researchers led by NYU Langone geneticist Jef Boeke on Thursday announced it constructed and integrated five “designer” chromosomes into Saccharomyces cerevisiae. This collaboration, known as the Synthetic Yeast 2.0 project (Sc2.0), unveiled the first-ever “designer chromosome” back in 2014, which brings the official total of made-from-scratch chromosomes to 6 of baker’s yeast 16.

In other words, over 30 percent of a living organism’s genetic material can be substituted with artificial code, and it won’t be long before Sc2.0 researchers reach 100 percent—an entirely synthetic organism. Discover spoke with Boeke about the project’s recent success:

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