t the recent “Molecular Life of Diatoms” meeting in Paris, France, genome engineering specialists, Cellectis, announced that they have successfully used engineered nucleases to genetically reprogram diatoms with a view to producing biofuels.
Based in Paris, France, and with offices in the US and Sweden, Cellectis develops and produces engineered site-specific endonucleases such as meganucleases and TALEN.TM
Their technological breakthrough was presented by Dr. Fayza Daboussi, the VP of Synthetic Biology and Technology of Cellectis Group, in Paris, on June 26. Dr. Daboussi, who led the study, demonstrated the strength of engineered nucleases for efficient gene inactivation and/or gene insertion in diatoms.
By targeting specific sequences within diatoms’ genomes, these nucleases can be used to accurately insert, correct, or inactivate specific genes. With the recent whole genome sequencing of several diatom species such as Thalassiosira pseudonana and Phaeodactylum tricornutum, according to the company, a new era of post‑genomics research has begun, with fresh opportunities to improve fundamental understanding of the biology of diatoms, and to build a molecular foundation for new industrial applications.