Harnessing the power of horizontal gene transfer for yeast strain development

Yeast are used on a massive scale in many industrial settings, such as production of food and beverages, nutrient supplements, pharmaceuticals, and others, totaling over $5 billion dollars in annual market value. Most yeasts currently used for industrial purposes are taken directly from nature and not optimized for the specific process requirements of industry. Currently, many tools for strain improvements require genetic modification of organisms, which does not allow for a non-GMO “clean” labeling. Yeast strain improvements can also be derived by classical methods – such as selective breeding and evolution – however the scope is limited to traits already present in the broader yeast species capable of mating. Yeasts also acquire new traits by horizontal gene transfer (HGT), which is the acquisition of genetic material by mechanisms other than reproduction. TO BE CONT’D

Faculty Supervisor:

John Smit


Cedric Brimacombe


Renaissance BioScience Corporation




Life sciences




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