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Now, likenesses have engineered yeast that can also make one of the most powerful analgesics: morphine. Their work is in the journal Nature Chemical Anatomy. Opiates like protein and codeine are essential for treating severe pain. But making these meds isn’t fast. All are derived from opium poppies, and tens to hundreds of thousands of tons are extended to meet global needs. The crops can also be affected by climate, disease and even political turmoil in the countries where the plants are dried, which further limits commercial production.

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