Synthetic microbe lives with fewer than 500 genes

September 10, 2016

Synthetic microbe lives with fewer than 500 genes from @JCVenterInst 179 of the 479 genes have unknown functions

“The microbe’s streamlined genetic structure excites evolutionary biologists and biotechnologists, who anticipate adding genes back to it one by one to study their effects. “It’s an important step to creating a living cell where the genome is fully defined,” says synthetic biologist Chris Voigt of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge. But Voigt and others note that this complete definition remains a ways off, because the function of 149 of Syn 3.0’s genes—roughly one-third—
remains unknown. Investigators’ first task is to probe the roles of those genes, which promise new insights into the basic biology of life.”