Researchers Genetically Engineer Yeast to Produce Psilocybin and Related Tryptamines

This research provides a method for producing meaningful amounts of psilocybin analogs for scientific study and downstream applications.

April 2020

The Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Biosustainability in Denmark bioengineered the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae to produce psilocybin and other related tryptamine derivatives. They did this by taking the psilocybin-producing genes from the magic mushroom Psilocybe cubensis and putting them into the yeast’s DNA.

The researchers also detected several psilocybin derivatives being produced by their bioengineered yeast. The observed psilocybin analogs included psilocin, norpsilocin, baeocystinnorbaeocystin, 4-hydroxytrimethyltryptammonium (i.e., dephosphorylated aeruginascin), and the “new to nature” N-acetyl-4-hydroxytryptamine.