Saccharomyces cerevisiae, for centuries the yeast that has been the workhorse for the fermentative production of ethanol, is now also a model system for biological research. The recent development of chromosome-splitting techniques has enabled the manipulation of the yeast genome on a large scale, and this has allowed us to explore questions with both biological and industrial relevance, the number of genes required for growth and the genome organization responsible for the ethanol production. To approach these questions, we successively deleted portions of the yeast genome and constructed a mutant that had lost about 5% of the genome and that gave an increased yield of ethanol and glycerol while showing levels of resistance to various stresses nearly equivalent to those of the parental strain. Further systematic deletion could lead to the formation of a eukaryotic cell with a minimum set of genes exhibiting appropriately altered regulation for enhanced metabolite production.
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