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News: Creating a Virus-Resistant Bacterium Using a Synthetic Engineered Genome.

Genome engineering allows scientists to modify the genetic code of microbes. Now, researchers have engineered the genome of the bacterium Escherichia coli (E. coli) to make it immune to viral infections. These infections often cause bacterial cultures to fail.


 


 

Scientists have achieved a significant breakthrough in the field of genome engineering. They successfully modified the genetic code of E. coli bacteria, granting them immunity to viral infections. This innovation holds immense potential for biomanufacturing, where large bacterial cultures are used to produce valuable products like biofuels and chemicals.


Viral infections pose a major threat to these cultures, often leading to their collapse and halting production. This engineered E. coli strain possesses several built-in safety features. Firstly, it blocks the unwanted transfer of its engineered genes to other bacteria. Secondly, it requires a specific, non-natural amino acid to survive, effectively confining it to the lab environment.


This advancement holds great promise for expanding the applications and commercial viability of engineered microbes. Not only does it mitigate the risk of production shutdowns due to viral infections, but it also addresses concerns about engineered organisms escaping and impacting the environment.


The cannabis industry also heavily relies on microbial engineering, particularly for large-scale cannabinoid production. Similar vulnerabilities to viral infections and potential environmental risks exist in this domain. The technology showcased in this research could be adapted to engineer cannabis-specific microbes with enhanced viral resistance and robust biosafety measures. This would translate to improved production efficiency, reduced costs, and a more sustainable and environmentally responsible cannabis industry.


Source: Energy.gov



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