Blacksburg, Va. Researchers at the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute (VBI) at Virginia Tech have compiled a series of guidelines that should help researchers in their efforts to design, develop and manage next-generation databases of biological parts. The stakes are high: the concept of biological parts is essential if methods developed in other fields of engineering are to be applied to biology. If successful, this approach will result in significant productivity gains for the biotechnology industry. The findings of the research, published in the Public Library of Science's open-access journal PLoS One, arose from a systematic analysis of the Registry of Standard Biological Parts, the most well developed collection of biological parts currently available to the synthetic biology research community.
Jean Peccoud, associate professor at the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute, remarked: "Our research group is very interested in providing the wider research community with design automation tools that will facilitate the engineering of biological systems. We needed to take a close look at the Registry of Standard Biological Parts in order to understand how GenoCAD, the platform we are developing to build and verify complex genetic constructs, should interface with this important community resource. In this process, we came to understand that repositories of biological parts represent a new generation of bioinformatics databases that pose a number of original and very interesting challenges." He added: "We believe that articulating the issues associated with these resources will help improve existing databases of biological parts. It will also assist in the development of new collections of parts for specialized applications such as bioenergy or biodefense."
The Registry of Standard Biological Parts is a publicly available resource and the focal point of the annual International Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM) competition. iGEM underg
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