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Genetically engineered yeast grow in the lab of UCSF School of Pharmacy synthetic biologist Christopher Voigt, PhD
Using tools from synthetic biology, Voigt's lab group programmed the DNA of yeast to produce a chemical precursor molecule of gasoline from biomass and salt. The precursor is methyl halide, and the gasoline derived from it through catalytic conversion is chemically indistinguishable from that produced from petroleum. Methyl halides have been extensively explored as intermediates for the conversion of natural gas to gasoline, but until Voigt's research, they had been completely overlooked as potential building blocks from biomass.
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