Genetically modified yeast shows off its artistic side

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For centuries, humans have played around with yeast. In ancient days, we domesticated it to make beer and bread. Now, a new and innovative form of artwork is just a way to visualize the next frontier of yeast manipulation.

A few years ago, the geneticist Dr. Jef Boeke and his laboratory at NYU got together with researchers worldwide to synthetically recreate the 16-chromosome genome of brewer’s yeast. The goal of the effort, called Synthetic Yeast 2.0, is to better understand “the complicated web of genetic interactions that underlie all biological processes,” Boeke said.

Last year, the research group made its first breakthrough when they created a designer chromosome called “SynIII.” The yeast still worked with this synthetic chromosome, even after 50,000 changes to the original chromosome they manipulated.

Although Boeke’s “biopointillism,” revealed at a New York Genome Center meeting, isn’t part of Synthetic Yeast 2.0, the artwork shows that dabbling with yeast genomes can produce phenotypic, if not behavioral changes.

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion and analysis. Read full, original post: Painting by Numbers, With Genetically Modified Yeast