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Medicine from Moss: Bioreactor Technique May Offer Hope to People With Age-Related Blindness

(Science Daily) Diabetics use human insulin produced in bacteria in order to treat their metabolic disorder. Many other genetically engineered proteins are also on the advance. They are being used for diagnosis as well as for therapy.

Whereas insulin used to be extracted from slaughterhouse waste today it is produced genetically in bacteria. However, more complex proteins have to be synthesised in more complex organisms. This takes place mostly in bioreactors using animal cell lines. Biotechnologist Prof. Ralf Reski … has developed the moss Physcomitrella patens into a safe and inexpensive alternative supplier of medicine.

His group has now, under Dr. Eva Decker, for the first time succeeded in producing a human protein in a moss bioreactor… In many people the amount of this protein decreases with old age -- with severe consequences… Not enough of this protein in older people is the main cause of blindness for 50 million people worldwide.

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