Sc2.0 – a Synthetic Yeast Holding Solutions to Societal Concerns

An expert in molecular biology, Jef Boeke, PhD, founded the Institute for Systems Genetics at NYU Langone Medical Center. Dr. Jef Boeke focuses on enhancing the future of modern genetic research through projects like Sc2.0. Dr. Boeke leads an international team with subteams in several European countries, notably the UK, Singapore, Australia and China. China has made a substantial investment in Sc2.0.

A yeast, Sc2.0 is the newest version of Saccharomyces cerevisiae, and serves as the platform to create a synthetic genome. The S. cerevisiae genome consists of 16 linear chromosomes that hold information about gene content, genome organization, ribonucleic acid (RNA) splicing, chromosome stability and duplication, and other genome properties. The construction of Sc2.0 should help researchers develop methods for producing biofuels from agricultural products and by-products as well as help create solutions to societal issues related to substitutes for petroleum byproducts, bioremediation and energy consumption.

During the research-and-development process, researchers will use assays available on S. cerevisiae to build a comprehensive understanding of phenotypic differences. Of all the organisms, this type of yeast offers an abundance of past biological studies and big data on its behavior, making it an ideal choice for designing chromosomes.

The Forum on Synthetic Biology

Dr. Jef Boeke currently serves as director of New York University’s Langone Medical Center, where he established the Institute of Systems Genetics. For the last two years, Dr. Jef Boeke also has been a sitting member of the Forum on Synthetic Biology at the National Academy of Sciences.

Founded by the Committee on Science, Technology, and Law, the Forum on Synthetic Biology serves as a grounds for discussion on the ethical, practical, and public policy-based topics surrounding the field of synthetic biology. Forum members gather three times a year at locations across the globe, including California, the District of Columbia, and London. Held across two days, the forum features guest speakers and member-written papers that generate scientific discussion among attendees. Each year, Agilent Technologies and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation sponsor forum events.

Most recently, the Forum on Synthetic Biology was held at Imperial College in London. Entitled Creating an Environment to Support Investment and Innovation in Synthetic Biology, the joint meeting focused on promoting discussion between prominent government figures in the United States and the United Kingdom. Moreover, forum attendees examined synthetic biology’s relation to the bio-economy and how international leaders should continue to support both fields in the coming years.