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A UK team is building a synthetic chromosome to be inserted into the world’s first synthetic yeast. Teams worldwide are making the other parts of its genome, which will be assembled to make the yeast strain Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Once complete, new strains of synthetic yeast could help make products such as vaccines, biofuels and chemicals. The UK government has announced a grant of almost £1m towards the project, which aims to be complete by 2017. Synthetic biology involves assembling artificial genes to create new materials in a similar way that engineers build machines using many parts. Some even think it can form the basis of a new industrial revolution. Humans have successfully learnt to control many aspects of nature, from agriculture to artificial insemination - now the emerging field of synthetic biology appears next in line to take centre stage. The world’s first living cell controlled entirely by synthetic DNA was made in 2010, but this was in a bacterial cell without a nucleus; yeast is a much more complex cell. Like humans and plants, yeast is a eukaryotic organism that contains complex structures that store DNA within a nucleus. It was picked as it only has about 6,000 genes which makes it small compared to other more complex organisms such as plants. (via BBC News - Scientists building the world’s first synthetic yeast)

A UK team is building a synthetic chromosome to be inserted into the world’s first synthetic yeast. Teams worldwide are making the other parts of its genome, which will be assembled to make the yeast strain Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Once complete, new strains of synthetic yeast could help make products such as vaccines, biofuels and chemicals. The UK government has announced a grant of almost £1m towards the project, which aims to be complete by 2017. Synthetic biology involves assembling artificial genes to create new materials in a similar way that engineers build machines using many parts. Some even think it can form the basis of a new industrial revolution. Humans have successfully learnt to control many aspects of nature, from agriculture to artificial insemination - now the emerging field of synthetic biology appears next in line to take centre stage. The world’s first living cell controlled entirely by synthetic DNA was made in 2010, but this was in a bacterial cell without a nucleus; yeast is a much more complex cell. Like humans and plants, yeast is a eukaryotic organism that contains complex structures that store DNA within a nucleus. It was picked as it only has about 6,000 genes which makes it small compared to other more complex organisms such as plants. (via BBC News - Scientists building the world’s first synthetic yeast)

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