A micrograph of one of Jef Boeke's yeast strains with a partially synthetic genome (Credit: Yu Zhao, NYU Langone Health)

Ful­ly syn­thet­ic genome nears com­ple­tion in a step to­ward un­rav­el­ing ge­net­ic mys­ter­ies

An in­ter­na­tion­al ef­fort to cre­ate yeast cells with a ful­ly syn­thet­ic genome is near­ing com­ple­tion, with the even­tu­al aim of un­rav­el­ing the mys­ter­ies of genomes and ush­er­ing in a tool for pro­duc­ing com­plex med­i­cines.

Sci­en­tists hope to cre­ate the syn­thet­ic or­gan­ism by stitch­ing to­geth­er small pieces of DNA in­to ar­ti­fi­cial chro­mo­somes and trim­ming out some ge­net­ic fat in the process.

The Syn­thet­ic Yeast Genome Project — ab­bre­vi­at­ed Sc2.0 — dates back more than 15 years. Now, in the con­sor­tium’s biggest up­date since re­veal­ing five syn­thet­ic chro­mo­somes in 2017, its sci­en­tists pub­lished 10 pa­pers de­scrib­ing the cre­ation of most of the re­main­ing chro­mo­somes, along with a whol­ly new one that does not ex­ist in na­ture.

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