A team of researchers from the J. Craig Venter Institute has created the first synthetic organellar genome, using a method called isothermal DNA assembly to construct a synthetic mouse mitochondrial genome from hundreds of overlapping oligonucleotides.
The work, published online yesterday in Nature Methods, is the latest in a series of synthetic biology achievements by the group.
JCVI researchers reported in Science in 2008 that they had put together fourMycoplasma genitalium quarter genomes in Escherichia coli and yeast to create the first synthetic genome, dubbed M. genitalium JCVI-1.0. They later tweaked this process, showing that they could assemble the synthetic M. genitalium genome in a single step in yeast.
And earlier this year the team took another step toward synthetic life when they made a synthetic M. mycoides genome, transplanted it into another bacterial species, M. capricolum, and showed that these transplanted cells were functional and could self-replicate.
For the latest study, the researchers turned their attention to a smaller genome, the 16,299 base mitochondrial genome from mice, which they assembled using the isothermal assembly method.