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Scientists just took a major step toward making life from scratch

28
Mar
2014

Yet until recently, researchers had been incapable of constructing one of the most emblematic symbols of our own genetic makeup: the eukaryotic chromosome. Although scientists have previously been able to construct viral DNA and bacterial DNA, the synthesis of a eukaryotic chromosome had not been achieved. We didnt make a carbon copy of an existing chromosome, says Jef Boeke, a molecular biologist at John Hopkins University and co-author of the study, but an extensively modified version designed on a computer, using a set of principles that were predicted to make happy, healthy yeast. This careful planning is what allowed the researchers, along with 60 undergraduate students, to painstakingly string chunks of DNA together and insert them into living yeast cells.

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