Sunday, 27 April 2014

First completely synthesized eukaryotic chromosome

Once again our world gets one step closer to the first extinct species to be cloned*. Remember when I reported the fully resolved genome of a British Mesolithicaurochs? I wrote that it is not yet technically possible to clone an aurochs because it is not yet figured out how to de novo synthesize a complete functional set of chromosomes which is needed to express the DNA after it was implanted into the blastocyst of a surrogate mother. All that we have of the aurochs’ genome yet is the reconstructed full sequence of this individual.

On April 4th this year however, a team of scientists published the total synthesis of a functional eukaryotic chromosome (go here for the abstract). The same worked with a prokaryotic chromosome previously. It will probably take some more years to synthesize longer chromosomes and eventually a full chromosome set, but I see this as a step forwards to genetically reconstruct and revive extinct animals of which enough genetic material is resolved.

* One extinct animal was cloned already and lived for 7 minutes. It was a Pyrenean ibex, C. p. pyrenaica. Go here for the abstract. 

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