Created the first synthetic chromosome in the laboratory
We may not be close to man “test-tube”, but surely we have made a decisive step towards the creation of life in the laboratory. The acceleration is due to a team of international scientists who have managed to get the first artificial chromosome . The real revolution, however, is that the chromosome is perfectly “working”, so it can be safely inertia within an organism. The first artificial chromosome is called synIII and reproduces, with some improvements, that of a yeast. The researchers who conducted the study (which lasted 7 years) are now convinced that we can soon get a complete synthetic genome, in order to create a yeast “test-tube”.
The realization of synIII is a source of great satisfaction for the scientists who worked there, as explained by Jef Boeke of the New York University School of Medicine, who led the study: “Our research moves the needle of synthetic biology from theory to reality “. What is truly extraordinary in the creation of the first artificial chromosome is that synIII has been successfully incorporated into a cell of Saccharomyces cerevisiae , the organism commonly called yeast. “The cells with the synthetic chromosome built are absolutely normal, behave almost identically to the cells ‘natural’,” points out with pride Boeke.
In fact, the cells that contain synIII behave a bit ‘better than natural. The artificial chromosome, in fact, has been modified in order to have new skills and “doing things the yeast ‘ wild ‘can not do. ” The aim of the researchers who worked on the study – which was published in Science online – is, in fact, to use the chromosome for the design of yeasts that can produce rare drugs, vaccines, biofuels and more efficient raw materials for the industry food.
The study that led to the creation of the first artificial chromosome required a long and painstaking design of genetic allowed, adding it and removing some others, to reduce the number of base pairs of DNA from 316 667 to 273 871 of chromosome model of synIII . Its success is due, however, only to the work of distinguished scientists to its realization was also attended by 60 students , who were recruited through the project “Build a genome”, which Jef Boeke launched at Johns Hopkins University.