Bioengineers at the University of California, Berkeley have found the last missing link in the chemical pathway to make morphine in yeast.
By borrowing DNA from plants, scientists have been genetically engineering yeasts that can convert sugar into morphine, similar to the way in which home brewers make beer.
Scientists predict they are about 2-3 years from being able links the steps together, scale up the process, and "brew" morphine.
The findings, published in Nature Chemical Biology, are promising for medicine but also concerning in terms of the possibility of home-brewed illegal opiates.
Read the NPR article