Corporate researchers make fat algae | Chemical & Engineering News
Volume 95 Issue 26 | pp. 12-13 | Concentrates
Issue Date: June 26, 2017

Corporate researchers make fat algae

Department: Business
Keywords: biofuels, algae, CRISPR, synthetic biology
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Researchers inspect algae with high oil content.
Credit: Synthetic Genomics
A photo of researchers looking at bright green algae in the lab.
 
Researchers inspect algae with high oil content.
Credit: Synthetic Genomics

A research partnership between ExxonMobil and Synthetic Genomics reports using gene-editing techniques to double production of biofuel lipids in algae (Nat. Biotechnol. 2017, DOI: 10.1038/nbt.3865). First, researchers used CRISPR/Cas9 to find transcription factors that modulate the amount of carbon stored by the algae Nannochloropsis gaditana in fatty acids rather than in carbohydrates or proteins. They then used CRISPR/Cas9 and RNA interference to create mutations in the transcription factors, resulting in algae that make more oil without inhibited growth. ExxonMobil says the technology is still years from the market.

 
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