Navigation Links
Predictability: The brass ring for synthetic biology

Predictability is often used synonymously with "boring," as in that story or that outcome was soooo predictable. For practioners of synthetic biology seeking to engineer valuable new microbes, however, predictability is the brass ring that must be captured. Researchers with the multi-institutional partnership known as BIOFAB have become the first to grab at least a portion of this ring by unveiling a package of public domain DNA sequences and statistical models that greatly increase the reliability and precision by which biological systems can be engineered.

The DNA sequences produced by BIOFAB provide precise control of gene expression in Escherichia coli, the rod-shaped bacterium that is one of the principal model organisms for genetic engineering. While these DNA sequences serve as standardized parts specific to E. coli, they also provide a set of rules for how the sequences fit together that should apply to other microbes as well. Controlling the expression of genes is essential for engineering a microbe to produce a specific product or carry out a specific function.

As BIOFAB co-director Adam Arkin, a computational biologist and director of Berkeley Lab's Physical Biosciences Division, has noted, "Fulfilling the great promise of synthetic biology hinges on making the design and construction of biological systems as predictable as the assembly of computer hardware."

Yet even with a microbe as well-characterized and understood as E. coli, the introduction of new genes has in the past been met with as much failure as success.

"You would think after a generation of genetic engineering, expressing genes with precision in an organism as well utilized as E. coli would be pretty straightforward but it's not," says BIOFAB's other co-director Drew Endy, a synthetic biologist at Stanford University.

Arkin and Endy are the corresponding authors of a pair of research papers published simultaneously in the journal Nature Methods, and a third to be published in Nucleic Acids Research, that collectively describe this major BIOFAB breakthrough.

BIOFAB's success is based on two major achievements - the design of independent DNA promoter and ribosome binding site sequences for specific E. coli genes, and the development of mathematical models that provide rules for engineering gene expression that should be applicable to nearly all organisms. This work establishes a much-needed technological foundation for the field of synthetic biology, which in turn should facilitate more precise and predictable genetic engineering in the future.


Contact: Lynn Yarris
DOE/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

Related biology news :

1. Synthetic molecule first electricity-making catalyst to use iron to split hydrogen gas
2. Synthetic Biologics to Present at the 2013 BIO CEO & Investor Conference
3. Developing microbial cell factories by employing synthetic small regulatory RNAs
4. Oscillating gel gives synthetic materials the ability to speak
5. Synthetic and biological nanoparticles combined to produce new metamaterials
6. New report finds increase in media coverage of synthetic biology
7. Synthetic fuel could eliminate US need for crude oil
8. Microchoreography: Researchers use synthetic molecule to guide cellular dance
9. Nottingham part of £20m investment for UK synthetic biology
10. Synthetic biofilter wins through to the top Sweet 16 in Boston
11. Collagen-seeking synthetic protein could lead doctors to tumor locations
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
Predictability: The brass ring for synthetic biology
(Date:6/2/2016)... 2016   The Weather Company , an IBM Business ... industry-first capability in which consumers will be able to interact ... questions via voice or text and receive relevant information about ... Marketers have long sought an advertising solution that can ... personal, relevant and valuable; and can scale across millions of ...
(Date:5/16/2016)... 2016   EyeLock LLC , a market leader ... of an IoT Center of Excellence in ... development of embedded iris biometric applications. EyeLock,s ... and security with unmatched biometric accuracy, making it the ... DNA. EyeLock,s platform uses video technology to deliver a ...
(Date:4/28/2016)... -- First quarter 2016:   , Revenues ... first quarter of 2015 The gross margin was 49% ... and the operating margin was 40% (-13) Earnings per ... from operations was SEK 249.9 M (21.2) , Outlook ... 7,000-8,500 M. The operating margin for 2016 is estimated ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/27/2016)... , June 27, 2016  Global demand ... 4.6 percent through 2020 to $7.2 billion.  This ... and beverages, cleaning products, biofuel production, animal feed, ... biotechnology, diagnostics, and biocatalysts). Food and beverages will ... driven by increasing consumption of products containing enzymes ...
(Date:6/27/2016)... , June 27, 2016  Sequenom, Inc. (NASDAQ: ... to enabling healthier lives through the development of innovative ... of the United States denied ... that the claims of Sequenom,s U.S. Patent No. 6,258,540 ... eligibility criteria established by the Supreme Court,s Mayo Collaborative ...
(Date:6/27/2016)... ... June 27, 2016 , ... Parallel 6 , ... announced today the Clinical Reach Virtual Patient Encounter CONSULT module which enables ... the physician and clinical trial team. , Using the CONSULT module, patients and physicians ...
(Date:6/27/2016)... ... June 27, 2016 , ... ... will join the faculty of the University of North Carolina Kenan-Flagler Business ... strategy and entrepreneurship at UNC Kenan-Flagler, with a focus on the school’s international ...
Breaking Biology Technology: