A2: Microbes in the news — Yeast produce low-cost, high-quality cannabinoids

Article:

Yeast produce low-cost, high-quality cannabinoids

Summary:

Synthetic biologists at UC Berkeley have engineered brewer’s yeast to produce some of the main components in marijuana including THC and CBD among others.

Connections:

The developing field of synthetic biology is based on taking the tools that we are using in class, such as whole-genome sequencing, and our knowledge of how microbiology works to modify and create solutions to modern problems.

Critical Analysis:

Synthetic biology is an amazing and quickly developing field with the potential to take   a future we have only seen in science fiction and turn it into reality. This is an incredible technical achievement showcasing our developing mastery over the fundamental building blocks of life. I knew something like this was coming, I can see the economic incentives for this, I am sure the people behind this will end up fabulously wealthy, but I still can not stop myself from facepalming. Of all the amazing and wondrous potential synthetic biology holds… this had to be the top of my news feed today.

Question:

I cannot begin to imagine the legal ramifications, how the hell do you regulate something like this?

4 Comments for “A2: Microbes in the news — Yeast produce low-cost, high-quality cannabinoids”

hmhanson

says:

I think they would regulate it like they regulate marijuana now. People would have to file for licences and be approved, their facilities would be inspected before they are allowed to open and then have periodic inspections. in this instance I think their product would be tested to ensure they are actually performing the proper science. They could even create further regulations by making people who want to open these production businesses have degrees in chemistry or at the very least take some kind of educational class so they have the fundamental knowledge needed to perform this science.

sdsmith7

says:

OH THIS IS SO EXCITING! Could you imagine the medical ramifications? There is such little research done on these Cannabinoids because they actually occur in such small amounts in the plants (I’m not talking about the THC, but the CBD and other cannabinoids) We may finally be able to define the mechanism of how CBD oil helps seizures for those with Dravet Syndrome or Droose syndrome, or really any epileptic syndrome. If we can find this mechanism, identify it and extrapolate that to different illnesses… Oh the limits are endless, especially if we can produce the CBD through yeast, rather than growing the marijuana plants, that need quite a bit of care and work. This is fantastic, so don’t facepalm too hard, because it may just save quite a lot of people and help their quality of life. (There will alsways be the people who want the money or the THC stoner high, but THIS is so much more than that when you think about it).

wmandrews

says:

From a clinical standpoint I definitely agree, this will greatly expand researcher’s ability to study these chemicals and hopefully demystify them so that we can move on to a better understanding of their medical potential.

apstrachan

says:

Wow this is pretty cool! We have seen/heard of how marijuana has helped certain people with certain diseases. I feel if this is passed and used many people wont be chastise for using the real stuff to get relief for their medical problems. I completely agree with you that this would be very hard to regulate and yet be very expensive. This could also be faster than growing the plants so many people are able to reap the benefits. I think its going to be something very hard to pass because it could potentially close many medical dispensaries but yet help many ppl so its a tricky topic.

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