Genetically engineered bacteria pumps out Morphine precursor

Biotechin.Asia

Bioengineers have tweaked Escherichia coli genes so that they pump out thebaine, a morphine precursor that can be modified to make painkillers.

Screen Shot 2016-03-22 at 7.56.41 am Japanese bioengineers have tweaked Escherichia coli genes so that they pump out thebaine, a morphine precursor that can be modified to make painkillers. The genetically modified E. coli produces 300 times more thebaine with minimal risk of unregulated use compared to a recently developed method involving yeast. [Eiri Ono/Kyoto University]

A common gut microbe could soon be offering us pain relief. Bioengineers at Kyoto University and their colleagus have tweaked Escherichia coli genes so that they pump out thebaine, a morphine precursor that can be modified to make painkillers. The genetically modified E.coli produces 300 times more thebaine with minimal risk of unregulated use compared to a recently developed method involving yeast.

“Morphine has a complex molecular structure; because of this, the production of morphine and…

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