Yeast cells modified with human muscle genes for first time

“Now that we understand the full process, medical scientists can use this humanized yeast model as a tool for drug screening and cancer research,” Daran-Lapujade says.

It turns out human cells are pretty similar to yeast cells

According to Daran-Lapujade, there are a lot of similarities between yeast and a human being: “It seems weird since yeast lives as single cells and humans consist of a substantially more complex system, but the cells operate in a very similar way.”

Scientists manage to combine human muscle genes into yeast cells

3D image of budding yeast cells.

Therefore, scientists frequently introduce human genes into yeast. Researchers may study one mechanism in a pure environment because yeast eliminates all other interactions that might occur in the human body.

“As compared to human cells or tissues, yeast is a fantastic organism for its simplicity to grow and its genetic accessibility: its DNA can be easily modified to address fundamental questions,” Daran-Lapujade explains. “Many pivotal discoveries such as the cell division cycle were elucidated thanks to yeast.”

Making a human-yeast hybrid

Previously, Daran-group Lapujade successfully created synthetic chromosomes that serve as a DNA platform for adding new activities to yeast. They aimed to determine whether the cells could still function as a whole after integrating multiple human genes and whole metabolic pathways.

“What if we take the same group of genes that controls the sugar consumption and energy production of human muscles into yeast?” Daran-Lapujade wondered. “Can we humanize such an essential and complex function in yeast?”

Francine Boonekamp and Ewout Knibbe, two Ph.D. students and co-first authors, found that creating a humanized yeast was surprisingly easy.

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