Navigation Links
DOE researchers achieve important genetic breakthroughs to help develop cheaper biofuels
Date:12/22/2011

Washington D.C. Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE's) Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI) announced today a major breakthrough in engineering systems of RNA molecules through computer-assisted design, which could lead to important improvements across a range of industries, including the development of cheaper advanced biofuels. Scientists will use these new "RNA machines", to adjust genetic expression in the cells of microorganisms. This will enable scientists to develop new strains of Escherichia coli (E. coli) that are better able to digest switchgrass biomass and convert released sugars to form three types of transportation fuels gasoline, diesel and jet fuels.

"This is a perfect example of how our investments in basic science innovations can pave the way for future industries and solutions to our nation's most important challenges," said Energy Secretary Steven Chu. "This breakthrough at the Joint BioEnergy Institute holds enormous potential for the sustainable production of advanced biofuels and countless other valuable goods."

A breakthrough with E. coli could make it cheaper to produce fuel from switchgrass or other non-food biomass plants to create advanced biofuels with the potential to replace gasoline. While the work at JBEI remains focused on the development of advanced biofuels, JBEI's researchers believe that their concepts may help other researchers to develop many other desired products, including biodegradable plastics and therapeutic drugs. For example, some researchers have already started a project to investigate how to use the "RNA machines" to increase the safety and efficacy of medicine therapies to treat diseases, including diabetes and Parkinson's.

Biological systems are incredibly complex, which makes it difficult to engineer systems of microorganisms that will produce desired products in predictable amounts. JBEI's work, which will be featured in the December 23rd issue of Science magazine, is the first of its kind to set up and adjust a RNA system in a predictable way.

Specifically, researchers focused their design-driven approach on RNA sequences that can fold into complicated three dimensional shapes, called ribozymes and aptazymes. By using JBEI-developed computer-assisted models and simulations, researchers then created complex RNA-based control systems that are able to program a large number of genes. In microorganisms, "commands" that are sent into the cell will be processed by the RNA-based control systems, enabling them to help develop desired products.

One of the major goals of synthetic biology is to produce valuable chemical products from simple, inexpensive and renewable starting materials in a sustainable manner. Computer-assisted models and simulations like the one JBEI developed are essential for doing so. Up to this point, such tools for biology have been very limited and JBEI's breakthrough in applying computer assisted design marks an important technical and conceptual achievement for this field.


'/>"/>

Contact: Jeff Sherwood
jeff.sherwood@doe.gov
202-586-4940
DOE/US Department of Energy
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Drugs used to overcome cancer may also combat antibiotic resistance: McMaster researchers
2. Researchers develop new method of cleaning toxins from the oilsands
3. Researchers discover a way to significantly reduce the production costs of fuel cells
4. San Diego Zoo researchers contribute to project using mummy DNA to differentiate croc species
5. Researchers create living neon signs composed of millions of glowing bacteria
6. Georgetown researchers lead discovery expected to significantly change biomedical research
7. 4 UC Riverside researchers receive national recognition
8. Researchers assess effects of a world awash in nitrogen
9. Researchers explain what makes granular material become solid
10. London researchers lead innovative new cancer treatment study
11. Antioxidant has potential in the Alzheimers fight, UGA researchers find
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:1/11/2017)... MOINES, Iowa , Jan. 11, 2017 ... industry first with the release of its patent-pending calibration ... quickly and reliably perform calibrations, securely upload data logs ... flexibility for the customer. "Fighting drunk driving ... only for the public at large, but also for ...
(Date:1/6/2017)... 2017  SomaLogic announced today that it has ... by iCarbonX, the China -based ... Digital Health Ecosystem that can define each person,s ... biological, behavioral and psychological data, the Internet and ... SomaLogic will provide proteomics data and applications expertise ...
(Date:1/4/2017)... VEGAS , Jan. 4, 2017  CES ... performance biometric sensor technology, today announced the launch ... sensor systems, the highly-accurate biometric sensor modules ... biometric technology, experience and expertise. The two ... Benchmark designed specifically for hearables, and Benchmark BW2.0, ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:1/21/2017)...   Boston Biomedical , an industry leader in ... stemness pathways, today presented data from two clinical studies ... American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Gastrointestinal Cancers Symposium ... In a Phase Ib/II study of napabucasin – ... stemness pathways by targeting STAT3 – colorectal cancer (CRC) ...
(Date:1/20/2017)... Stock-Callers.com explores the Biotech industry ... most recent performances of select equities. In this morning,s ... ), Abeona Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ: ABEO ), ... Sage Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ: SAGE ). According ... global Biotech market size is expected to reach $604.40 billion by 2020 due ...
(Date:1/20/2017)... NEW YORK , January 20, 2017 ... Health Organization, cancer is one of leading causes of ... in 2012. Although the number of cancer related deaths ... since 1990. Rising in incidence rate of various cancers ... According to a research report by Global Market Insights, ...
(Date:1/19/2017)... Research and Markets has announced the addition of the ... Global Opportunity Analysis and Industry Forecast, 2014-2022" report to their ... Cancer ... reach $15,737 million by 2022 from $6,521 in 2015, growing at ... Omic technologies segment accounted for more than half of the revenue ...
Breaking Biology Technology: