How Inserting Venom-Producing Genes From Snakes into Yeast Can Save Lives

7. 21. 15 by Andrew Tieu
  • Extracted from the Agkistrodon Acutus viper, venom production genes are inserted into yeast chromosomes and the product is cultured with glycerol. The scientists then inject methanol into the test tube, stimulating the yeast to form snake poison proteins called Agkisacutalin.
  • Professor Xiao Weihua, lead scientist of the project, says that the yeast is more or less the same that is used in bread and wine. “The biggest value of Agkisacutalin is the near-absence of side effects,” he says. “All anticoagulant medicines at present lead to excessive bleeding, but Agkisacutalin doesn’t.” The modified yeast has proven effective in clinical trials and passed the required bio-safety checks, but some health authorities remain skeptical about using natural venom.
  • Xiao’s team still faces technological barriers in bringing their product to mass production. The modified yeast dies after producing the venom for 38 hours unless new colonies are frequently added to the solution.

Care about supporting clean energy adoption? Find out how much money (and planet!) you could save by switching to solar power at By signing up through this link, may receive a small commission.

Share This Article

Keep up.
Subscribe to our daily newsletter to keep in touch with the subjects shaping our future.
I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its User Agreement and Privacy Policy


Copyright ©, Camden Media Inc All Rights Reserved. See our User Agreement, Privacy Policy and Data Use Policy. The material on this site may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, cached or otherwise used, except with prior written permission of Futurism. Fonts by Typekit and Monotype.