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Home-brewed heroin? Scientists create yeast that can make sugar into opiates.

Home brewed heroin Scientists create yeast that can make sugar into opiates Science The Guardian


Home-brewed heroin could become a reality, scientists have warned, following the creation of yeast strains designed to convert sugar into opiates.

The advance marks the first time that scientists have artificially reproduced the entire chemical pathway that takes place in poppy plants to produce morphine in the wild.

Scientists warned that the findings could pave the way for opium poppy farms being replaced by local morphine “breweries” and called for urgent regulation of the technology. In theory, opium brewing would be no more difficult to master than DIY beer kits, raising the possibility of people setting up Breaking Bad-style drug laboratories in their own homes.

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Talk about opening pandora's box...

I'm not sure why there's a need for urgent regulation.

Once the sugar is converted into an opiate, it's an illegal drug, right?

Full text of the Nature paper.

Nature Comment article on the regulatory issues. I think it is Open Access, but I'm not positive. 

And here is a New York Times article discussing some of the regulatory implications and the debate that is currently ongoing about it.

From the Reddit comments:

I remember once I got a cold. Couldn't buy Sudafed and my husband's allergy meds w/o an act of Congress because someone, somewhere uses Sudafed to make crystal meth. Does this mean I need to put my name on a watch list to bake a cake? Sigh... 

Well we already knew that sugar is potentially poisonous to humans.

This just ups the danger level.

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