French-based genome engineering specialist Cellectis announced it has successfully used engineered nucleases to genetically reprogram diatoms, a major group of algae, to produce biofuels. The company says its VP of Synthetic Biology and Technology, Dr. Fayza Daboussi, presented his research results at a meeting in Paris:
The results presented at the “Molecular Life of Diatoms” meeting by Dr. Fayza Daboussi, who led the study, demonstrate the strength of Cellectis’ engineered nucleases for efficient gene inactivation and/or gene insertion in diatoms. Cellectis has generated a lipid‑rich diatom which highlights the significance of this breakthrough. This work will lead to new opportunities in synthetic biology and especially biofuel production from photosynthesis and CO2.
Cellectis officials say genome sequencing of several diatom species, such as Thalassiosira pseudonana and Phaeodactylum tricornutum, has opened a new era of post‑genomics research and the possibilities for new industrial applications.