This genetically modified yeast can now brew morphine

This article from PBS discusses a breakthrough made at UC-Berkeley and in Canada to help move production of certain opiates (drugs used for pain killing) from the time-consuming process of waiting for plants to grow before final processing in yeast to allow the entire process to occur in specially modified yeast cells. However, recognizing the danger of home-made labs using this yeast to create their own opiates, the researchers have also already begun discussions with regulatory agencies in an effort to help restrict access. This may limit their own access to their own research, but it may help prevent the spread of the specific strain out of the lab and into the hands of those who would sell these addictive (and potentially lethal drugs. Opiates such as morphine can depress the respiratory system and cause patients to stop breathing.