Researchers from China’s Centre for Excellence in Molecular Plant Sciences have claimed to have created the world’s first single-chromosome yeast while not affecting the majority of its functions. The experiment was conducted on Brewer’s yeast having 16 chromosomes and which shares its one-third genome ancestry with humans. Researchers were able to fit nearly all genetic material of Brewer’s yeast into just one chromosome without affecting majority of its functions.
Researchers had used CRISPR-Cas9 genome-editing technology to create a single-chromosome yeast strain. Using CRISPR-Cas9, researchers removed DNA at telomeres (ends of chromosomes that protect them from degrading) and also snipped out centromeres, sequences in middle that are important to DNA replication. Firstly in this process, researchers had fused two chromosomes and then joined product to another chromosome and repeated process in successive rounds until there was only one chromosome left.
The research had revealed that number of chromosomes of eukaryote has no correlation with amount of genetic information they possess. It also showed that all genetic information can be concentrated in just one chromosome. It provides new approach to studying the functions of telomeres by simplifying complex genome system. This research may help in furthering research related to aging and diseases in humans. In future, it may also pave way for new man-made species in the future.