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Engineering Students Contribute to Creating Synthetic Yeast Chromosome From Scratch

March 28, 2014

With the help of biomedical engineering students taking part in a class called “Build a Genome,” scientists have created the world’s first synthetic yeast chromosome — a move that could someday aid in the production of vaccines, biofuels, medications and — yes! — even beer.

Jef Boeke, a former Hopkins professor of molecular biology and genetics, began the project with students seven years ago and led a global team of researchers who manipulated piece of DNA to create the characteristics they wanted. Boeke now is director of the Institute for Systems Genetics at New York University. .

“We think that’s going to be a very powerful tool for biotechnology as well as a way for us to learn something new about the biology of yeast,” Boeke, director of the Institute for Systems Genetics at New York University since January, told the Baltimore Sun.

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