Case ID: M14-208L

Published: 2023-04-14 10:38:59

Last Updated: 1681468739


Bo Wang
Weiwen Zhang
Deirdre Meldrum

Technology categories

Alternative Energy/Biofuels/Bioplastics/AlgaeLife Science (All LS Techs)Vectors/Constructs/Plasmids

Technology keywords

Biofuels Production

Licensing Contacts

Jovan Heusser
Director of Licensing and Business Development
[email protected]

Methods to Increase Genetic Transformation in Cyanobacterium

Cyanobacteria are model species for studying photosynthesis and recently have been gaining increased attention for their ability to produce renewable fuels and chemicals by harvesting solar energy and recycling carbon dioxide. Unfortunately, despite all the recent research and exciting achievements made regarding cyanobacteria, genetic transformation efficiency is still low, much lower than other species such as E. coli and yeast. This presents a significant barrier to harnessing this type of microorganism. In order for cyanobacteria to compete as a model system for producing useful products, new strategies to enhance the transformation efficiency are needed.

Researchers at the Biodesign Institute have developed novel methods to increase the transformation efficiency of cyanobacteria by 161-fold. Our researchers have found that pre-methylation of foreign DNA, by certain methylase genes, increases the integrative transformation efficiency of cyanobacteria and does not pose any change to the host genetic background. This technology could be used to create a novel and useful commercial kit for high-efficiency transformation of cyanobacteria.

This method provides for transformation efficiency increases in cyanobacteria by more than two orders of magnitude and can be further combined with other optimization strategies to bring about even greater efficiency increases. This could make the use of cyanobacteria for production of useful compounds highly attractive.

Potential Applications

  • Increased transformation efficiency of Cyanobacteria
    • Production of renewable fuels
    • Production of chemicals (agrochemicals, specialty chemicals, etc.)
    • Production of biodegradable plastics
    • Production of human and animal supplements
    • Production of therapeutics
    • Production of cosmetics

Benefits and Advantages

  • 161-fold increase in transformation efficiency
  • Two orders of magnitude higher transformation efficiency was achieved
  • Can be combined with other optimization strategies to further increase efficiency
  • Does not affect the host genetic background

For more information about the inventor(s) and their research, please see
Dr. Meldrum’s directory webpage