Genetically engineered organisms already produce some highly valuable products for us. Insulin used to be harvested from the pancreases of pigs, but now stockpiles of human insulin can be made using a fermentation process with bio-engineered bacteria. Various kinds of yeast can produce different kinds of breads and beers, but if we can modify these tiny organisms at will, yeast could produce an incredibly wide variety of products. Just check out these links on the versatility of yeast.
- The next version of Breaking Bad won’t need a desperate chemistry teacher, but maybe a biology undergrad and some genetically modified yeast. Brewing all kinds of pharmaceutical drugs with bioengineered yeast could make drug synthesis remarkably inexpensive… and hard to police. [url]
- Researchers have created a yeast that is sensitive to magnetic fields, and this work could lead to other kinds of organisms engineered to have magnetic sensing abilities. Magnetic yeast cells can grow into arbitrary patterns shaped by external magnetic fields, and this ability could be employed in advanced bio-engineering processes. [url]
- Under current FDA rules, if a flavor chemical comes from a plant, animal, or edible yeast, then it can be labeled “natural” on food packaging. How natural would flavors really be if they were produced by genetically engineered yeast? Designer yeasts can produce flavors such as vanilla, saffron, and grapefruit — and more flavors and fragrances are being developed. [url]
After you’ve finished checking out those links, take a look at our Daily Deals for cool gadgets and other awesome stuff.