I've blogged before on Synthetic Biology, particularly with respect to the success of Macquarie University's iGEM teams- for instance, here and here. Synthetic biology is a new scientific field that combines engineering principles with molecular biological approaches to design and construct biological devices and systems. The rational synthesis of “designer” organisms has the potential to revolutionise biotechnological applications in areas such as bioenergy and biomanufacturing.
I'm a bit behind in blogging but we've recently-ish (alright more than a month ago) had exciting news that the NSW state government has provided significant funding for Macquarie University to lead Australia in the international Yeast 2.0 project. Yeast 2.0 is an international collaboration between six countries, with the aim of building a completely synthetic yeast by 2017. Each collaborating lab is responsible for the design and synthesis of one or more artificial yeast chromosomes. The project was instigated by Jef Boeke at NYU, whose team has recently published in Science the first synthesis of a functional complete eukaryotic chrosomome (yeast Chromosome 3). Our involvement in this project has been led by our Deputy Vice Chancellor (Research) Sakkie Pretorius, and I'll be supervising the actual research staff working on this project (expect some job postings very soon!). This is a fantastic opportunity for Macquarie University to lead synthetic biology in Australia, and to use Yeast 2.0 as a chassis for developing novel synthetic biology applications useful in an Australian context.
|Apparently, we are now doing Chr 16 as well as 14 (India dropped out)|