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Synthetic biosystems for the production of high-value plant metabolites (the PhytoMetaSyn Project)

PROJECT LEAD(S)/CO-LEAD(S) Peter Facchini (University of Calgary) & Vincent Martin (Concordia University)
FUNDER Genome Canada - Applied Genomics Research in Bioproducts or Crops - ABC
PROJECT START DATE October 1, 2009
PROJECT END DATE September 30, 2014
COMPETITION/ FUNDING OPPORTUNITY Genome Canada - Applied Genomics Research in Bioproducts or Crops - ABC

Large-scale and ultra-high throughput DNA sequencing provides a means to accelerate the discovery of unique enzymes for the biosynthesis of complex plant metabolites, enabling their production in microbial hosts under controlled conditions. The key deliverables of this project are: (1) a public resource of genomic and metabolomic information for 75 plants producing bioactive natural products, (2) engineered yeast strains that produce high-value plant natural products, (3) the extensive cataloguing of new enzymes for use as biocatalysts in plug-and-play synthetic biology applications, (4) the invention of efficient functional genomics approaches for elucidating novel metabolic pathways and identifying unknown biosynthetic genes from non-model plants, and (5) a thorough analysis of related regulatory, ethical, and economic issues, including consultations with the public, which will help to ensure that technology development is not just scientifically sound, but is also socially robust. The development of robust bioinformatics tools will promote the rational selection of unknown genes, which will be expressed in engineered microbial strains.

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