Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
Informatics
Scientific Community
 
Become a Member | Sign in
Home>News>This Article
  News
Return

Minister Announces UK Funding to Build World-First Synthetic Yeast

Published: Friday, July 12, 2013
Last Updated: Friday, July 12, 2013
Bookmark and Share
UK scientists to build a chromosome for the world's first synthetic yeast.

Minister for Universities and Science David Willetts will today announce nearly £1M funding for the UK arm of an international consortium attempting to build a synthetic version of the yeast genome by 2017.

David Willetts said: "This research is truly groundbreaking and pushes the boundaries of synthetic biology. Thanks to this investment, UK scientists will be at the centre of an international effort using yeast - which gives us everything from beer to biofuels - to provide new research techniques and unparalleled insights into genetics. This will impact important industrial sectors like life sciences and agriculture."

When completed it will be the first time scientists have built the whole genome of a eukaryotic organism - those organisms, like animals and plants, which store DNA within a nucleus. Scientists can then design different strains of synthetic yeast that contain genes to make commercially valuable products such as chemicals, vaccines or biofuels.

Collaborators from the UK, USA, China and India are meeting at Imperial College London to discuss their plans and progress so far, and hear from related projects underway using bacteria. For the Sc 2.0 project, teams at universities around the world are responsible for building each of the 16 individual yeast chromosomes that together comprise the complete genome.

Funding for the UK team, led by Dr Tom Ellis and Prof Paul Freemont at the Centre for Synthetic Biology and Innovation (CSynBI) at Imperial College London, with help from Prof Alistair Elfick at the University of Edinburgh and Prof Steve Oliver at Cambridge University, was recently approved from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) with co-funding from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).

The £970,000 funding for the Sc 2.0 UK Genome Engineering Resource (SUGER), awarded through the Bioinformatics and Biological Resources Fund, will allow the UK team to build and test Synthetic Chromosome XI, which is 0.7 million DNA base pairs long.

Dr Tom Ellis, Lecturer in Synthetic Biology at Imperial College London, said: "We are excited to be welcoming our new international consortium partners to London to discuss Sc 2.0. Having recently secured funding for the UK to be part of this ground-breaking project, we are looking forward to getting started and being part of the action. It's a perfect fit for our work in synthetic biology here at Imperial, where we really view yeast as a tiny factory that can be tooled-up to produce new molecules. A synthetic genome will allow us to reprogram yeast and our goal is to use it to produce new antibiotics as resistance arises to existing ones."

The synthetic yeast genome will be tailored to aid research and is expected to give new and detailed insights into many aspects of genetics including genome organisation, structure and evolution, as well as advance the exciting new field of synthetic biology.

The project originated from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, USA, and is being co-ordinated by Professor Jef Boeke of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

Prof Boeke said: "Sc 2.0, once completed, will provide unparalleled opportunities for asking profound questions about biology in new and interesting ways, such as: How much genome scrambling generates a new species? How many genes can we delete from the genome and still have a healthy yeast? And how can an organism adapt its gene networks to cope with the loss of an important gene? Moreover, genome scrambling may find many uses in biotechnology, for example in the development of yeast that can tolerate higher ethanol levels."

Professor Freemont, co-director of CSynBI and Chair in Protein Crystallography at Imperial College London, added: "Yeasts have evolved over millions of years, making energy from sugars and excreting alcohol and carbon dioxide gas. Humans have adapted these organisms to our advantage, using their by-products to make alcoholic drinks and risen baked goods. Now we have the opportunity to adapt yeasts further, turning them into predictable and robust hosts for manufacturing the complex products we need for modern living. "

The S. cerevisiae genome was picked for the project because its 6,000 genes make it relatively small and scientists are already very familiar with it; yeast was the first eukaryotic organism to have its genome completely sequenced.

To complete the work a new suite of bioinformatics software and detailed genome engineering methods are being developed and these, alongside the highly-evolvable synthetic yeast strains themselves, will be made an open-access resource to advance research in numerous fields.


Further Information
Access to this exclusive content is for Technology Networks Premium members only.

Join Technology Networks Premium for free access to:

  • Exclusive articles
  • Presentations from international conferences
  • Over 2,500+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More than 3,700+ scientific videos on LabTube
  • 35 community eNewsletters


Sign In



Forgotten your details? Click Here
If you are not a member you can join here

*Please note: By logging into TechnologyNetworks.com you agree to accept the use of cookies. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.

Related Content

Researchers Use ‘Big Data’ Approach to Map the Relationships Between Human and Animal Diseases
EID2 database used to prevent and tackle disease outbreaks around the globe.
Thursday, July 17, 2014
BBSRC Shows UK Commitment to European Bioinformatics Agreement
BBSRC has signed an agreement that will enable maximum impact of Europe's bioscience research data.
Monday, September 09, 2013
Researchers Pair Experiments with Computer Models to Peer into Cells
BBSRC-funded researchers have developed a new strategy that can give scientists a better insight into how complex molecular machineries function in living cells.
Wednesday, March 20, 2013
BBSRC Invests in Future of Livestock Genomics
Over £1.1M of new investment has been awarded for ARK-Genomics, with a focus on the genetics and genomics of livestock species.
Monday, January 07, 2013
UK Bioscience Sparkles with New Diamond Fellowship
UK bioscience has received a major boost following the announcement of 16 new fellowships by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) including the first ever Diamond Fellowship, so named because the post will be based at the new Research Complex at Harwell, adjacent to the Diamond Light Source in Oxfordshire - the UK national synchrotron facility.
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Scientific News
Searching Big Data Faster
Theoretical analysis could expand applications of accelerated searching in biology, other fields.
Imaging Software Could Speed Breast Cancer Diagnosis
Technology could improve access to diagnostic services in developing countries.
Data Mining DNA For Polycystic Ovary Syndrome Genes
A new Northwestern Medicine genome-wide association study of PCOS – the first of its kind to focus on women of European ancestry – has provided important new insights into the underlying biology of the disorder.
Firefly Protein Enables Visualization of Roots in Soil
A new imaging tool from a team led by Carnegie’s José Dinneny allows researchers to study the dynamic growth of root systems in soil, and to uncover the molecular signaling pathways that control such growth.
UEA Research Could Help Build Computers From DNA
New research from the University of East Anglia could one day help build computers from DNA.
Viral Comparisons
ORNL team applies genomics expertise to analyze, map virus sequence database.
Preserving Fleeting Digital Information with DNA
A team has demonstrated that DNA they encapsulated can preserve information for at least 2,000 years, and they’re now working on a filing system to make it easier to navigate.
TGAC Leads Development to Diminish Threat to Vietnam’s Most Important Crop
Advanced bioinformatics capabilities for next-generation rice genomics in Vietnam to aid precision breeding.
Mass Extinctions Can Accelerate Evolution
A computer science team at The University of Texas at Austin has found that robots evolve more quickly and efficiently after a virtual mass extinction modeled after real-life disasters such as the one that killed off the dinosaurs.
Furthering Data Analysis of Next-gen Sequencing to Facilitate Research
Researchers at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center have developed a user-friendly, integrated platform for analyzing the transcriptomic and epigenomic "big data.
Scroll Up
Scroll Down
Skyscraper Banner

Skyscraper Banner
Go to LabTube
Go to eposters
 
Access to the latest scientific news
Exclusive articles
Upload and share your posters on ePosters
Latest presentations and webinars
View a library of 1,800+ scientific and medical posters
2,500+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
3,700+ scientific videos
Close
Premium CrownJOIN TECHNOLOGY NETWORKS PREMIUM FREE!