At a secret enclave in the San Francisco metropolitan area, synthetic biologists and DIYBio tinkerers have been hacking nature up to fix the one thing about the vegan diet that would be difficult for many Americans: going without cheese.
iGEM – the 10th international Genetically Engineered Machine competition – is tackling expressing casein proteins in yeast to make cheese. Not a cheese substitute, real cheese, without milk from a cow or a goat.
Upside for vegans – the cheese really is vegan. Downside for vegans – instead of milk, it uses strands of human DNA.
The human proteins (other mammals also, but that is a lot less shocking) come from genetic sequences which go into baker’s yeast. This is biohacking in action but this FrankenCheese is not bringing you closer to biological doom.
So it’s a vegan GMO. No big deal in science but a bit of a headspin in the nutrition community. Using human DNA milk proteins will mean less chance of allergic reactions, they hypothesize.