There is an interesting article about the international effort to build the world’s first synthetic yeast on the BBC’s Science and Environment website.
The first synthetic bacterial cell was created in 2010, and whilst this was a ground-breaking achievement, it should be noted that this was a cell without a nucleus. Building the synthetic yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae will be a much more complex task, requiring 16 synthetic chromosomes.
The UK contribution is being led by Professors Tom Ellis and Paul Freemont at Imperial College London. Along with scientists from the US, China and India they will design chunks of DNA which can then be synthesised and assembled into the correct sequences before being placed inside a stripped out yeast cell.
Yeasts are a particularly interesting target for synthetic biologists, with a variety of potential applications from beer to biofuels.
You can read the full article at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-23244768
Story source: BBC News, 11 Jul 2013