Chromosomes are DNA structures handed down to us from our parents. Humans tend to have 23 pairs of chromosomes that determine who we are. Creating a totally artificial chromosome is hugely exciting as it is another step to understanding more about the human body.
Until recently the most advanced chromosome created was in a bacteria, but scientists at a range of institutions have successfully replaced the genes in a yeast chromosome with artificially created ones. After undergoing careful scrutiny, the trial was declared a success as the cell passed number of key tests.
The team had to create 273,871 base DNA pairs to recreate the cell’s genes, even though that is fewer than the number already in the original cell.
The plan going forward is to use the knowledge gained to create strains of yeast, commonly used in brewing and baking, which are resistant to disease and can be put to many practical uses.