A circular approach
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Researchers have built a synthetic circular yeast chromosome, a feat of genome engineering that provides a tool for investigating the biology of circular chromosomes, which are linked to conditions such as epilepsy and leukaemia.
The team, led by researchers at Tianjin University’s Collaborative Innovation Center of Chemical Science and Engineering, modified the sequence of a linear chromosome already present in yeast. They then chemically synthesized DNA fragments based on their designer sequence and combined these building blocks into a circular chromosome. They also developed methods to detect and repair errors that occurred during synthesis.
Next, they introduced the synthetic chromosome into a yeast strain and grew it for 60 generations. The engineered yeast grew similarly to normal yeast and passed on the synthetic chromosome for all 60 generations. The team included various useful tags and sites when designing the synthetic chromosome, which will make it a valuable tool for studying circular chromosome disorders.
- Science 355, eaaf4704 (2017). doi: 10.1126/science.aaf4704