SCIENCE IN THE NEWS DAILY
Synthetic Yeast to Brew Up Vital Malaria Drug
from New Scientist
A synthetic organism could be producing enough of a key malaria drug to treat the world within three years.
A species of yeast has been fitted with synthetic genes that make a compound called artemisinin, which is used to treat multi-drug resistant strains of malaria. The chemical is currently extracted from a Chinese wormwood shrub called Artemisia annua, but this is a relatively expensive process.
Jay Keasling, of the University of California, Berkeley, and colleagues announced 2 years ago that they had engineered artimisinic acid-producing yeast by inserting around 12 synthetic genes which had been copied from A. annua and several other species. They have now optimised the process and are scaling it up for industrial production in partnership with drugs giant Sanofi-Aventis.
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VIDEO: How Hair Ice Grows
In 2013, American Scientist featured an article on odd ice formations on plant stems, including these curling ribbons of ice. One of the types of ice discussed in the article was hair ice—long, thin strands of ice that grow under quite specific conditions. The only problem is that a new study shows the theory put forth at the time—that gas pressure pushes the water out—isn’t correct... (click the link above to read more).
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