Created the first artificial chromosome of history


A group of scientists from the United States, with the collaboration of 60 students, newly created in a lab from scratch, the first artificial chromosome 's history, proving that behaves like one natural, and that it does not interfere with the functions of the leaven of bread (Saccharomyces cerevisiae), whose cells have been used as a model. This achievement, the result of a study published in the journal Science, has been compared in importance with the sequencing of the human genome, and represents a major breakthrough in the research genetics that will allow to design micro-organisms with the ability to produce drugs such as vaccines, antibiotics, food, biofuels, or various compounds used in industry chemistry, introducing genes artificial that they carried out functions previously programmed in the laboratory.
So far only scientists had gotten almost exact artificial copies of natural chromosomes, while Jeff Boeke - who has just been appointed director of the Centre medical Langone of the University of New York-, and Srinivasan Chandrasegaran - expert in DNA-modifying, have developed a chromosome whose genome has introduced hundreds of changes in different aspects, so it is different from the natives that are based.
The researchers eliminated from the yeast's DNA that were not considered essential bread and introduced in key places small DNA sequences, which allowed them to alter the original chromosome by adding a chemical compound. In this way, you can generate thousands of chromosomes from the natural model, and each of them would have a structure and different properties.

The first step toward artificial life

The two main contributions offered by the creation of this chromosome, as it explains Boeke, are the possibility to deepen the knowledge of basic biology understanding how genes interact with each other; and their practical applications in the development of new products that currently obtained from oil.
According to this scientist, the yeast will play an important role in this field, so his team aims to manufacture 16 chromosomes that has yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, to contribute to the development of biotechnology.
As they are moving the majority of specialized media, this could be the first step toward the creation of artificial life in the near future, although at the moment this exciting single road has just begun, since the design of a superior body - an animal or a Neanderthal - Genome involves more complexity than a fungus as this versatile bread leavening.
Article contributed for educational purposes
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