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News 993 views last update:6 Aug 2012

Novel technique for genetic optimization of algae

Aurora Algae is using a novel technique for genetic optimization to create advanced-trait algae strains for product development in the pharmaceutical, nutrition, renewable energy and animal feed markets of their industrial algal crops.

This technology is a game changer for the company, as it vastly expedites research cycles, reducing the time and costs associated with studying biosynthetic pathways and subsequently manipulating those pathways.
 
The proprietary process for the application of this technique is the subject of a peer-reviewed article in the scientific journal PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences).
 
Aurora’s new technique for applying homologous recombination to Nannochloropsis, a fast-growing, unicellular alga capable of accumulating large amounts of oil, has the potential to rapidly advance algal functional genomics and biotechnology in a commercially relevant group of organisms.
 
“One recent success was the development of a non-transgenic strain of algae with an altered lipid profile having a higher proportion of EPA, the valuable omega-3 essential fatty acid,”said Dr. Bertrand Vick, chief scientific officer and co-founder of Aurora Algae, and one of the senior authors of the article.
 
“This new strain will be extremely valuable in expanding the supply of omega-3s for the global pharmaceutical, food and dietary supplement industries, without reliance on limited fish stocks or expensive fermentation systems. Our ability to produce omega-3s in open pond systems will completely disrupt the industry.”
 
This technology enables genetic optimization without introducing foreign genes, thereby preserving the organism’s natural genetic background.
 
Aurora Algae’s laboratories have implemented homologous recombination, a powerful strain development tool, for optimization.

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