Case solved: The biosynthesis of strychnine elucidated

A research team has disclosed the complete biosynthetic pathway for the formation of strychnine in the plant species Strychnos nux-vomica (poison nut). The researchers identified all genes involved in the biosynthesis of strychnine and other metabolites and expressed them in the model plant Nicotiana benthamiana. This enabled them to show that these extremely complex and pharmacologically important molecules can be synthesized using ‘metabolic engineering’ methods.

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