In an article published online in Science, researchers from several institutions including the University of Wisconsin, the Biological Research Center of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences and Scarab Genomics, LLC report on a reduced, stable E. coli genome.
Called Clean Genome® E. coli, this genetically engineered strain can replicate DNA that is unclonable in other E. coli strains as well as DNA that is prone to genetic rearrangement.
The Clean Genome strain is designed to provide the stability and genetic backbone required for plasmid replication and protein production, important for research, and medical and industrial applications.
As reported in Science, Scarab Genomics deleted 15% of the E. coli chromosome-DNA that was either not essential or has potentially harmful attributes.
The Clean Genome is the result of a rational design based on knowledge of the DNA code and the biological role of certain genes.
Scarab removed insertion sequences (IS elements), which have a tendency to migrate in the genome, causing gene transfer. As an IS-free strain, the Clean Genome offers genetic stability otherwise unavailable.
The result is an E. coli genome that is simpler, safer and better behaved. Cell viability, growth, plasmid uptake, plasmid yield and protein production in many instances are improved over other commercially available strains.
For synthetic biologists, the Clean Genome serves as the fundamental structure into which they can build complex systems, modifying metabolic pathways with the assurance and stability necessary to produce high value chemicals, pharmaceuticals and engineered biotherapeutics.
The company has already licensed its technology for use in DNA production and is working with several collaborators on various industrial applications.