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J. Craig Venter Institute Researchers Publish Significant Advance in Genome Assembly Technology
Date:12/4/2008

this study the team used DNA fragments that ranged in size from about 17,000 base pairs to 35,000 base pairs. These relatively short segments were inserted into yeast cells in one step and through the mechanism of homologous recombination were assembled into the synthetic M. genitalium genome. Several experiments were then done to confirm that all 25 pieces of the synthetic DNA had been correctly assembled in the yeast cells, and to show that the experiment could be successfully reproduced.

The JCVI team continues to explore the capacity for DNA assembly in yeast, and the various applications of this particular method. They conjecture that a variety of combinations of DNA molecules and genetic pathways could be manufactured in yeast, in essence turning yeast into a genetic factory for specifically designed and optimized processes. This advance is being used by scientists at the company SGI in making next generation biofuels and biochemicals more efficiently.

"We continue to be amazed by the capacity of yeast to simultaneously take up so many DNA pieces and assemble them into genome-size molecules," said lead author Dr. Gibson. "This capacity begs to be further explored and extended and will help accelerate progress in applications of synthetic genomics."

Senior author Clyde Hutchison, Ph.D., added, "I am astounded by our team's progress in assembling large DNA molecules. It remains to be seen how far we can push this yeast assembly platform but the team is hard at work exploring these methods as we work to boot up the synthetic chromosome."

Key Milestones/Ethical Background of JCVI's Synthetic Genomics Research

Mid-1990's: After sequencing the M. genitalium genome, Dr. Venter and colleagues begin work on the minimal genome project. This area of research, trying to understand the minimal genetic components necessary to
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SOURCE J. Craig Venter Institute
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