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A designer synthetic chromosome fragment functions in moss
Posted by: Prof. Dr. M. Raupp (IP Logged)
Date: February 26, 2024 10:50AM

Experts from the Chinese Academy of Sciences and partners reported in Nature
Plants about their breakthrough in developing the first artificial plant
genome. To date, they have developed a partially synthetic version of the
spreading earthmoss (Physcomitrium patens) chromosome. This big leap can
turn the moss into a factory of medicines and other products.

Redesigning an organism's genome is vital in understanding which sequences
are important and how their organization impacts gene functions. This
technique can also add value to organisms by improving their traits for
agriculture, industry, and medicine, among other applications.

The research team, referring to the project as SynMoss, initiated the
redesigning of the genome with a portion of the short arm of chromosome 18,
the smallest arm in the plant's 26-chromosome genome. Then, they trimmed the
DNA, "cleaned" it by removing transposons, added markers to the altered arm,
and made more tweaks. In the end, the portion of the DNA was shortened by
56%. The synthetic structure was then introduced into individual moss cells
for growth.

The researchers have successfully utilized spreading earthmoss as a
biofactory for valuable chemicals. Currently, a drug created from
genetically modified versions of this moss is undergoing clinical trials,
demonstrating the potential of this approach.


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