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Churning Out Some LSD

Jake Wintermute at Harvard University is on his way to using synthetic biology to make lysergic acid, a precursor to LSD, reports Ian Sample at the Guardian. Lysergic acid is also used to make certain medications. Wintermute gave an update on his work at the Synthetic Biology 5 meeting at Stanford University, and said that though he is not yet making lysergic acid, he has inserted two of the six needed biochemical pathways into yeast. "This could be the first step towards a new living factory for making LSD, and thanks to previous experience with microbes, scaling up this kind of technology should not be too arduous for the pharmaceutical industry," Sample adds.