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πŸ“° A giant step towards creating artificial life

πŸ“° A giant step towards creating artificial life

In a major breakthrough in the field of synthetic biology, a team of scientists from the UK, led by Dr Ben Blunt from the University of Nottingham and Professor Tom Ellis from Imperial College London, has completed the construction of a living organism. chromosome (A chromosome (from the Greek word chromo, color and soma, body, element) is the element…) artificial. This achievement comes within project (A project is an irreversible commitment with an uncertain outcome, and is not repeatable…) International Sc2.0, with the aim of creating the first Genome (The genome is the entire genetic material of an individual or…) to yeast (Yeast is a single-celled fungus capable of causing fermentation of substances…) synthetics in the world.

Published in the magazine Cellular genomicsThis work represents the completion of one of the sixteen chromosomes of the yeast genome by the British team. The 15-year Sc2.0 project involves international teams (US, China, Singapore, France and Australia) collaborating to assemble entire yeast chromosomes. Various teams have released nine more publications describing their artificial chromosomes, and final completion of the project is scheduled for 2024.

This work represents the first construction of a synthetic genome in a eukaryote, an organism with a nucleus, such as animals, plants and fungi. Yeast, selected for its relatively small genome size and innate ability to assemble DNA, allows researchers to build artificial chromosomes inside its cells.

Humanity’s history with yeast dates back thousands of years, where it has been used in bread making, fermentation, production of chemicals, and as a model organism. These factors made yeast an ideal candidate for this project.

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The British team announced the completion of artificial chromosome XI, which consists of approximately 660,000 base pairs. This chromosome replaces the normal yeast chromosome and allows the cell to grow at the same level of fitness as a normal cell. Synthetic genomics will help understand how the genome works and will have many applications.

Saccharomyces cerevisiae, SEM image.
Image credit: Mojana Das Murthy and Pachamuthu Ramasamy/CC BY-SA 3.0

Instead of simply copying the natural genome, the Sc2.0 synthetic genome is designed with new features that give cells capabilities never seen before in nature. One such feature forces cells to mix their genetic content, creating millions of different copies with different characteristics. These cells can be used in medical applications Bioenergy (Bioenergy results from the process of extracting energy from biomass, when…) And in Biotechnology (The OECD defines biotechnology as β€œthe application of principles…). The team also showed that their chromosome could serve as a new system to study extrachromosomal circular DNA (eccDNA), which is involved in senescence, malignant growth, and resistance to chemotherapy in many cancers.

Project collaborators also include scientists from the Universities of Edinburgh, Cambridge, Manchester, Johns Hopkins University,New york university (New York University: NYU,…) Langone Health and the National Autonomous University of Mexico, Queretaro.