WELL, THIS IS THE 21ST CENTURY, YOU KNOW: A New Lab-Built Fungus Eats Sugar and Burps Out Drugs.
In seven papers published today in Science, representing a decade of work by hundreds of scientists across four continents, the Synthetic Yeast 2.0 project reports the first fully designed, and partially completed, made-from-scratch eukaryotic genome. Eukaryotes—organisms whose cells have a nucleus and other defined organelles—encompass all complex life: yeasts, plants, hamsters, humans. So writing a custom genome for one is a big deal by itself. But the artificial yeast will have a more stable, easily manipulable genome for scientists to work with, and for the chemical, pharmaceutical, and energy industries to use for a new generation of drugs, biofuels, and novel materials.