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The concepts of synthetic biology have the potential to transform plant genetics, both in how we analyze genetic pathways and how we transfer that knowledge into useful applications. While synthetic biology can be applied at the level of the single gene or small groups of genes, this commentary focuses on the ultimate challenge of designing fully synthetic plant chromosomes. Engineering at this scale will allow us to manipulate whole genome architecture and to modify multiple pathways and traits simultaneously. Advances in genome synthesis make it likely that the initial phases of plant chromosome construction will occur in bacteria and yeast. Here I discuss the next steps, including specific ways of overcoming technical barriers associated with plant transformation, functional centromere design, and ensuring accurate meiotic transmission. Copyright © 2020. Published by Elsevier Inc.


R Kelly Dawe. Charting the path to fully synthetic plant chromosomes. Experimental cell research. 2020 May 01;390(1):111951

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PMID: 32151492

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