Discovery of New Human Genes
We can "mine" gene libraries to find genes that replace specific functions in the yeast array. We can place thousands of genes in the Acceptor Array yeast strains, eliminate the normal yeast genes that encode specific functions so that a yeast will grow only if it receives a gene that replaces the yeast function that was eliminated.
Cloning Genes (Compound Targets) from Difficult or Dangerous Organisms
With the XenoGene System we can clone genes (genomic DNA or cDNA) from any source to generate functional targets. The protein of the functional gene then becomes a target for compounds that specifically inhibit its protein product. This allows us to do drug discovery research on organisms that would not otherwise be amenable to research. Examples are plant pathogens that cannot grow in culture, animal pathogens that only grow in their host and infectious organisms like malaria.
Assays for High Throughput Screens for Compound Discovery
The XenoGene strains in which foreign genes have replaced essential yeast genes are used to discover compounds that act on the foreign gene product and thereby affect the growth of the cognate strain. In an array of such strains carrying different foreign genes, compound that affects the growth of a given strain, but not others, is specific for the product of the cognate foreign gene. The robustness of yeast and their uniformity of growth allow us or collaborators to use essentially any platform (microwells, solid surfaces, beads, etc.) for growth assays.