The economics of home brewed heroin must have drug lords quaking in their boots. This is worse than Walter White! The New Yorker looks at how a single yeast cell can cook up morphine from scratch:
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For as long as humans have been farmers, we have been drinkers. Wild yeast was the first microorganism that we domesticated, more than ten millennia ago. But archaeologists believe that we have been harvesting the gum of opium poppies for even longer. Across a broad swath of the Middle East and Asia, our ancestors tapped, dried, boiled, and consumed the poppy pod’s sticky secretions. The flower provided one of the first medicinal substances known to humanity, as well as a potent high. But not even the Romantic poets, ensconced in their stately pleasure-domes and out of their minds on smack, could have imagined what a paper published today in the journal Nature Chemical Biology describes: turning yeast, a simple fungus, into a narcotics lab to rival the poppy.