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In a paper published in the Plant Biotechnology Journal, Stephen Mayfield, director of the San Diego Center for Algae Biotechnology at the University of California at San Diego, and his colleagues looked at the versatility of the green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii in order to determine whether it had the potential to act as a robust drug factory. They inserted genes for production of seven different therapeutic proteins currently being made in yeast, bacteria, and mammalian cells, including interferon (for multiple sclerosis) and proinsulin (for diabetes). Of the seven, the algae produced four proteins at levels high enough for commercial use and in forms that were identical to those made by bacterial and mammalian cell systems, and are just as easy to isolate and concentrate.

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