Researchers at Tufts University have engineered a strain of yeast that has been genetically modified to consume the sugar xylose. Learn more from this video from the National Science Foundation.
The planet has a lot of spare xylose. A major source is plant material that people can’t eat, and often throw away, like leaves or corn cobs. Now that scientists have created yeast that can utilize xylose instead of glucose, which they are typically fed, it reduces the pressure on the corn supply. That could make the production of biofuels far more sustainable.
This work also opens up new possibilities for using yeast in a variety of industries; these microorganisms might one day produce many kinds of molecules and materials.