Crop Biotech Update

Multiplex Base-Editing System Reveals Unidentified Fungal Strains with Medical Potentials

January 11, 2023

Chinese scientists developed a new tool to unravel fungal genomes to help identify medically valuable compounds. The Multiplex Base-Editing (MBE) platform not only reduced their research timeline by 80%, but it also generated at least five fungal compounds that have not been documented before.

According to reports, this is the first time the MBE was used to identify fungal genomes for medically valuable compounds. Previous gene modification techniques using base editing were carried out one at a time. But the MBE system enabled base-editing to work on multiple genomic sites at a time and cut the research period from three months to about two weeks.

The fungal genome is considered to be complex because the majority of the genes or biosynthetic gene clusters do not express their full biosynthetic potential. But the MBE system allowed the scientists to easily delete several regulatory genes that restrict the production of small bioactive molecules. This caused the engineered fungal strains to produce more bioactive molecules and allowed the scientists to observe more compounds, some of which had never been seen before. The discovery of these compounds can lead to the development of new antibiotics or anticancer drugs and help save human lives in the future.

Learn more in the Journal of the American Chemical Society and Futurity.

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