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New Lab Startup Afingen Uses Precision Method to Enhance Plants

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By manipulating a plant’s metabolic pathways, two scientists at Berkeley Lab, Henrik Scheller and Dominique Loqué, have figured out a way to genetically rewire plants to allow for an exceptionally high level of control over the spatial pattern of gene expression, while at the same time boosting expression to very high levels. Now they have launched a startup company called Afingen to apply this technology for developing low-cost biofuels that could be cost-competitive with gasoline and corn ethanol.

Boosting Biogasoline Production in Microbes

Aindrila Mukhopadhyay (left) and Heather Jensen were part of a JBEI team that identified microbial genes which can improve both the tolerance and the production of biogasoline in engineered strains of E. coli. (Photo by Roy Kaltschmidt)

Researchers with the Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI) have identified microbial genes that can improve both the tolerance and the production of biogasoline in engineered strains of E. coli.

RCas9: A Programmable RNA Editing Tool

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A powerful scientific tool for editing the DNA instructions in a genome can now also be applied to RNA as Berkeley Lab researchers have demonstrated a means by which the CRISPR/Cas9 protein complex can be programmed to recognize and cleave RNA at sequence-specific target sites.

Life-Saving Dividends for Synthetic Biology Research: Microbial-Based Antimalarial Drug Shipped to Africa

Jay Keasling with children in a village outside Nairobi, Kenya. (Photo by Gabrielle Tenenbaum)

A synthetic biology project begun 13 years ago by Jay Keasling was culminated with the announcement that a microbial-based version of the antimalarial drug artemisinin has been shipped to African nations where it is most needed.

Berkeley Lab’s Jennifer Doudna Gives a CRISPR Interview on NPR

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Jennifer Doudna, a biochemist with Berkeley Lab’s Physical Biosciences Division, was recently interviewed on National Public Radio by Joe Palca for a segment on All Things Considered. The topic was CRISPR, an important new tool for genetic engineering.

The JBEI GT Collection: A New Resource for Advanced Biofuels Research

The JBEI GT Collection, the first glycosyltransferase clone collection specifically targeted for the study of plant cell wall biosynthesis, features GT clones of rice (shown here) and Arabidopsis plants. (Photo by Roy Kaltschmidt)

The JBEI GT Collection, the first glycosyltransferase clone collection specifically targeted for the study of plant cell wall biosynthesis, is expected to drive basic scientific understanding of GTs and better enable the manipulation of plant cell walls for the production of biofuels and other chemical products.

Berkeley Lab’s Adam Arkin Wins 2013 Lawrence Award

Adam Arkin, director of Berkeley Lab’s Physical Biosciences Division, has been named one of six recipients of the 2013 Ernest Orlando Lawrence Award by U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz.

What About BOB?

The Berkeley Open Biofoundry – BOB – is a Berkeley Lab proposal to DARPA aimed at providing the science and technology that will enable the engineering of biological systems to produce valuable chemical products on a commercial scale.

Resistance is Not Futile: Joint BioEnergy Institute Researchers Engineer Resistance to Ionic Liquids in Biofuel Microbes

Researchers with the Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI) have identified the genetic origins of a microbial resistance to ionic liquids and successfully introduced this resistance into a strain of E. coli bacteria for the production of advanced biofuels.

New Technique for Identifying Gene-Enhancers

Berkeley Lab researchers led the development of a new technique for identifying gene enhancers – sequences of DNA that act to amplify the expression of a specific gene – in the genomes of humans and other mammals. Called SIF-seq, this new technique complements existing genomic tools, such as ChIP-seq, and offers additional benefits.