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Math modeling integral to synthetic biology research
Date:4/4/2014

the clock onto a plasmid, a little piece of DNA that is inserted into E. coli. A mutation in the gene had the effect of slowing down the clock as temperature increased.

UH researchers created a mathematical model to assess the various design features that would be needed in the plasmid to counteract temperature change. Gupta showed that the model captured the mechanisms essential to compensate for the temperature-dependent changes in reaction rates.

The computational modeling confirmed that a single mutation could result in a genetic clock with a stable period across a large range of temperatures an observation confirmed by experiments in the Bennett lab. Josić's team then confirmed the predictions of the models using real data.

"Having a mechanistic model that allows you to determine which features are important and which can be ignored for a genetic circuit to behave in a particular way allows you to more efficiently create circuits with desired properties," Gupta said. "It allows you to concentrate on the most important factors necessary in the design."

"Throughout this work, we used mathematical models to find out what is important in designing robust synthetic gene circuits," Josić said. "Computational and mathematical tools are essential in all types of engineering. Why not for biological engineering?"

Josić, Ott and Bennett's research is funded by the National Institutes of Health through the joint National Science Foundation/National Institute of General Medical Sciences Mathematical Biology Program.


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Contact: Lisa Merkl
lkmerkl@uh.edu
713-743-8192
University of Houston
Source:Eurekalert

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