Opiate synthesis in yeast

Title:

An enzyme-coupled biosensor enables (S)-reticuline production in yeast from glucose

Author(s):

William C DeLoache Zachary N Russ Lauren Narcross Andrew M Gonzales Vincent J J Martin John E Dueber

Publication:

Published in: Nature Chemical Biology
Volume: 11, Issue: 7, Pages: 465-471
Published: 5/18/2015
DOI: 10.1038/nchembio.1816
Website: http://www.nature.com/doifinder/10.1038/nchembio.1816

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Our Discussion:

This article got a lot of attention because of its potential biosecurity implications. Even though the paper only describes the synthesis of an intermediate, media quickly extrapolated to envision this as an avenue to home-brewed morphine and other addictive drugs. Of course, there is a long way to go before substantial amounts of illicit substances can be produced this way but it is worth thinking about it ahead of time. Click on the Altemtric donut to get more information about the impact of this publication in the media and Read the accompanying articles:

Rob Carlson also wrote an interesting perspective on the policy implications of this article.

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