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article imageUndergrads create historic chromosone

By Walter McDaniel     Jun 9, 2014 in Science
Students at John Hopkins University created a particular yeast chromosome for the first time ever. The creation of chromosome 3 marks the first time we have created a singular gene in such a complex organism.
Humans are now delving into the creation of individual chromosomes. The particular one created here deals with the sexual reproduction of yeast. They managed to create a version of chromosome 3 that functioned as well as the originals that researchers were studying. It opens new venues for genetic study.
The problem in originally putting this together was the huge number of different pairs of genetic information. To stop this they removed the parts which the chromosome could live without. As a result they got a working structure that survived as well as the original yeast. This is especially noteworthy since Yeast is a complex organism. We have previously had trouble in recreating the more complex genomes synthetically so this is a landmark event.
The team was part of the Synthetic Yeast 2.0 project that involved leads such as Jef Boeke, a team leader and biologist at New York University. The announcement was swiftly published in Scientific American.
This is just the first step in creating the full genetic structure of yeast in a lab. If they can manage to create all 16 chromosomes then they will have, in many ways, created life from scratch. While we can certainly do that in some ways most of our current technology deals with moving life from one area to another, as in cloning and IVF. All of that could change if their work is successful. Whether this is right or wrong is something people will likely be debating very shortly.
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