Primordial Genetics Inc has been awarded a Phase I STTR grant in collaboration with Animesh Ray’s laboratory at the Keck Graduate Institute. The grant is titled “Function Generator: A novel combinatorial technology for engineering product tolerance traits in yeast”.
The project will focus on the application of Function Generator™, Primordial Genetics’ proprietary gain-of-function genetic technology, to the development of alcohol tolerance trait genes in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Function Generator™ is designed as a new way to reprogram a cell and confer useful phenotypes. Synthetic genes are constructed using proprietary combinatorial strategies, limiting the ability of organisms to generate compensatory genetic or epigenetic changes. High-complexity expression libraries of these genes are transferred into the organism followed by selection or screening for desirable characteristics.
The proposed experiments will demonstrate the feasibility of the technology in a screen for butanol tolerance using Saccharomyces cerevisiae, a yeast commonly used for alcohol production. Butanol is a second-generation fuel fermented from biomass and suitable for blending with gasoline. Novel trait genes identified in tolerance and resistance selections and screens will be analyzed and improved using the Ray laboratory’s know-how in yeast genetic modeling and computational phenotypic predictions.

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