Production of the antimalarial drug precursor artemisinic acid in engineered yeast

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Production of the antimalarial drug precursor artemisinic acid in engineered yeast

This coursework is my attempt to paraphrase and explain in simple words the article of Ro DK, Paradise EM, Ouellet M, Fisher KJ, Newman KL, Ndungu JM, Ho KA, Eachus RA, Ham TS, Kirby J, Chang MC, Withers ST, Shiba Y, Sarpong R, Keasling JD with the title Production of the antimalarial drug precursor artemisinic acid in engineered yeast. The article was published in 2006 in Nature and it is one of the most cited articles in history. The authors describe how they managed to prepare a yeast strain Saccharomyces cerevisiae, also known as Baker’s yeast, which was able to produce artemisinic acid. Artemisinic acid can be afterwards chemically transformed into artemisinin, which is today the first line treatment for malaria worldwide. I divided this coursework in three parts. In the first part some aspects of malaria as disease and history of treatment are described. Second part is trying to explain the work behind the article. The third part is highlighting what happened after happy ending of the article in 2006, in other words, how things went on until today.

Part one:

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