A yeast artificial chromosome (YAC) containing a multigene cassette for expression of enzymes that enhance xylose utilization (xylose isomerase [XI] and xylulokinase [XKS]) was constructed and transformed into Saccharomyces cerevisiae to demonstrate feasibility as a stable protein expression system in yeast and to design an assembly process suitable for an automated platform. Expression of XI and XKS from the YAC was confirmed by Western blot and PCR analyses. The recombinant and wild-type strains showed similar growth on plates containing hexose sugars, but only recombinant grew on D-xylose and L-arabinose plates. In glucose fermentation, doubling time (4.6 h) and ethanol yield (0.44 g ethanol/g glucose) of recombinant were comparable to wild type (4.9 h and 0.44 g/g). In whole-corn hydrolysate, ethanol yield (0.55 g ethanol/g [glucose + xylose]) and xylose utilization (38%) for recombinant were higher than for wild type (0.47 g/g and 12%). In hydrolysate from spent coffee grounds, yield was 0.46 g ethanol/g (glucose + xylose), and xylose utilization was 93% for recombinant. These results indicate introducing a YAC expressing XI and XKS enhanced xylose utilization without affecting integrity of the host strain, and the process provides a potential platform for automated synthesis of a YAC for expression of multiple optimized genes to improve yeast strains.