Who needs cells?

By Andy Coghlan IT’S now possible to make proteins from genes without using living cells. Roche Molecular Biochemicals of Penzberg, Germany, has developed a kit that does the job in a fraction of the time it takes bacteria. “You need no microbiological expertise to do it, no special laboratory and no cloning experts,” says vice-president Albert Röder. Researchers who want to produce proteins for analysis usually stitch the gene into E. coli and get the bacterium to make them. This can be tricky, because E. coli’s enzymes may break down the desired protein,
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