Fink Lab

Whitehead Institute and MIT chemical engineers and biologists have now devised a way to dramatically boost isobutanol production in yeast, which naturally make it in small amounts. They engineered yeast so that isobutanol synthesis takes place entirely within mitochondria, cell structures that generate energy and also host many biosynthetic pathways.

A team of scientists from Whitehead Institute and other institutions has shown for the first time how two long intergenic noncoding RNAs (ncRNAs) in brewer’s yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) contribute to a location-dependent switch for the yeast FLO11 gene to toggle between active and inactive states.

The next time you pick up a bag of weed killer from The Home Depot, think about this: a chemical company probably spent years of testing and millions of dollars to develop an effective herbicide that is harmful to weeds but safe for you, your children, and your pets. Now a new study of root growth in a tiny weed called Arabidopsis thaliana suggests that genetics could help scientists save valuable time and money in developing better herbicides for the future.