Macquarie University researchers will spearhead Australia’s role in the international Yeast 2.0 project, tasked with creating the world’s first-ever synthetic complex organism.
This project will open the door for more robust synthetic biology research at the University, with end-user applications including the more environmentally friendly production of biofuels and better targeted medication.
Partnered by the Australian Wine Research Institute and backed by $1million in funding from the NSW Government, Macquarie University was last week announced as the lead Australian institution for Yeast 2.0.
“A wholly synthetic yeast genome will be an amazing accomplishment, but it is just the beginning,” said project lead and Deputy Vice Chancellor Research, Professor Sakkie Pretorius. “This is history in the making as all previous ground-rules for research in biology are being rewritten.
“Once we can synthesise the full genetic blueprint of a yeast we can then apply the same techniques to increasingly more complex organisms. The possibilities in medicine, or the environment, for example, are truly mind-blowing.”
The announcement was made at a symposium held in MGSM on Tuesday 27 May.
The symposium featured special guests including the global research leader of the Yeast 2.0 project, Professor Jef Boeke of New York University, and Dr Tom Ellis, Imperial College London.
On Monday 26 May, Sakkie also participated in a media briefing with the Australian Science Media Centre: an informative recording of this outline of the project is now available online.
Find out more about the Synthetic Biology symposium and Yeast 2.0 project.