A novel method developed by a group of researchers at the Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology (IGB) at the University of Illinois could change the way metabolic engineering is done.

Researchers from the IGB's Biosystems Design research theme, including Steven L. Miller Chair of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Huimin Zhao, recently published a paper in Nature Communications outlining their new method, which could make the metabolic engineering process more efficient.

"We can easily find several metabolic engineering targets to improve the desired phenotype," said Jiazhang Lian, a visiting research associate at the IGB who is a co-author of the paper.

The researchers decided to create a method that combines all of these steps and executes them simultaneously, making the process faster and easier.

They based this method on the CRISPR system, a method of genetic manipulation that uses a set of DNA sequences to modify genes within a cell.

This system uses three genetic manipulations that are frequently used in metabolic engineering: transcriptional activation, transcriptional interference, and gene deletion.

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