WorldWideScience

Sample records for synthetic biology environmental

  1. Cell-free synthetic biology for environmental sensing and remediation.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Karig, David K

    2017-06-01

    The fields of biosensing and bioremediation leverage the phenomenal array of sensing and metabolic capabilities offered by natural microbes. Synthetic biology provides tools for transforming these fields through complex integration of natural and novel biological components to achieve sophisticated sensing, regulation, and metabolic function. However, the majority of synthetic biology efforts are conducted in living cells, and concerns over releasing genetically modified organisms constitute a key barrier to environmental applications. Cell-free protein expression systems offer a path towards leveraging synthetic biology, while preventing the spread of engineered organisms in nature. Recent efforts in the areas of cell-free approaches for sensing, regulation, and metabolic pathway implementation, as well as for preserving and deploying cell-free expression components, embody key steps towards realizing the potential of cell-free systems for environmental sensing and remediation. Copyright © 2017 The Author. Published by Elsevier Ltd.. All rights reserved.

  2. The potential of synthetic biology for improving environmental quality and human health in developing countries

    OpenAIRE

    Fernández-Niño, Miguel; Islam, Zia-ul

    2017-01-01

    ABSTRACT Environmental quality is a major factor in global health that mainly affects the poorest populations. Vector- borne diseases, climate change, pollution and unintentional poisonings are recognized as the primary causes of environmental diseases burden in developing countries. The development and implementation of new technologies to reduce the impact of these risk factors on health in developing countries is a priority in the current research. In this regard, synthetic biology, a near...

  3. Plant synthetic biology.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Liu, Wusheng; Stewart, C Neal

    2015-05-01

    Plant synthetic biology is an emerging field that combines engineering principles with plant biology toward the design and production of new devices. This emerging field should play an important role in future agriculture for traditional crop improvement, but also in enabling novel bioproduction in plants. In this review we discuss the design cycles of synthetic biology as well as key engineering principles, genetic parts, and computational tools that can be utilized in plant synthetic biology. Some pioneering examples are offered as a demonstration of how synthetic biology can be used to modify plants for specific purposes. These include synthetic sensors, synthetic metabolic pathways, and synthetic genomes. We also speculate about the future of synthetic biology of plants. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  4. Designing synthetic biology.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Agapakis, Christina M

    2014-03-21

    Synthetic biology is frequently defined as the application of engineering design principles to biology. Such principles are intended to streamline the practice of biological engineering, to shorten the time required to design, build, and test synthetic gene networks. This streamlining of iterative design cycles can facilitate the future construction of biological systems for a range of applications in the production of fuels, foods, materials, and medicines. The promise of these potential applications as well as the emphasis on design has prompted critical reflection on synthetic biology from design theorists and practicing designers from many fields, who can bring valuable perspectives to the discipline. While interdisciplinary connections between biologists and engineers have built synthetic biology via the science and the technology of biology, interdisciplinary collaboration with artists, designers, and social theorists can provide insight on the connections between technology and society. Such collaborations can open up new avenues and new principles for research and design, as well as shed new light on the challenging context-dependence-both biological and social-that face living technologies at many scales. This review is inspired by the session titled "Design and Synthetic Biology: Connecting People and Technology" at Synthetic Biology 6.0 and covers a range of literature on design practice in synthetic biology and beyond. Critical engagement with how design is used to shape the discipline opens up new possibilities for how we might design the future of synthetic biology.

  5. Is synthetic biology mechanical biology?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Holm, Sune

    2015-12-01

    A widespread and influential characterization of synthetic biology emphasizes that synthetic biology is the application of engineering principles to living systems. Furthermore, there is a strong tendency to express the engineering approach to organisms in terms of what seems to be an ontological claim: organisms are machines. In the paper I investigate the ontological and heuristic significance of the machine analogy in synthetic biology. I argue that the use of the machine analogy and the aim of producing rationally designed organisms does not necessarily imply a commitment to mechanical biology. The ideal of applying engineering principles to biology is best understood as expressing recognition of the machine-unlikeness of natural organisms and the limits of human cognition. The paper suggests an interpretation of the identification of organisms with machines in synthetic biology according to which it expresses a strategy for representing, understanding, and constructing living systems that are more machine-like than natural organisms.

  6. Models for synthetic biology.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kaznessis, Yiannis N

    2007-11-06

    Synthetic biological engineering is emerging from biology as a distinct discipline based on quantification. The technologies propelling synthetic biology are not new, nor is the concept of designing novel biological molecules. What is new is the emphasis on system behavior. The objective is the design and construction of new biological devices and systems to deliver useful applications. Numerous synthetic gene circuits have been created in the past decade, including bistable switches, oscillators, and logic gates, and possible applications abound, including biofuels, detectors for biochemical and chemical weapons, disease diagnosis, and gene therapies. More than fifty years after the discovery of the molecular structure of DNA, molecular biology is mature enough for real quantification that is useful for biological engineering applications, similar to the revolution in modeling in chemistry in the 1950s. With the excitement that synthetic biology is generating, the engineering and biological science communities appear remarkably willing to cross disciplinary boundaries toward a common goal.

  7. Synthetic biological networks

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Archer, Eric; Süel, Gürol M

    2013-01-01

    Despite their obvious relationship and overlap, the field of physics is blessed with many insightful laws, while such laws are sadly absent in biology. Here we aim to discuss how the rise of a more recent field known as synthetic biology may allow us to more directly test hypotheses regarding the possible design principles of natural biological networks and systems. In particular, this review focuses on synthetic gene regulatory networks engineered to perform specific functions or exhibit particular dynamic behaviors. Advances in synthetic biology may set the stage to uncover the relationship of potential biological principles to those developed in physics. (review article)

  8. A Unifying Mathematical Framework for Genetic Robustness, Environmental Robustness, Network Robustness and their Trade-offs on Phenotype Robustness in Biological Networks. Part III: Synthetic Gene Networks in Synthetic Biology

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chen, Bor-Sen; Lin, Ying-Po

    2013-01-01

    Robust stabilization and environmental disturbance attenuation are ubiquitous systematic properties that are observed in biological systems at many different levels. The underlying principles for robust stabilization and environmental disturbance attenuation are universal to both complex biological systems and sophisticated engineering systems. In many biological networks, network robustness should be large enough to confer: intrinsic robustness for tolerating intrinsic parameter fluctuations; genetic robustness for buffering genetic variations; and environmental robustness for resisting environmental disturbances. Network robustness is needed so phenotype stability of biological network can be maintained, guaranteeing phenotype robustness. Synthetic biology is foreseen to have important applications in biotechnology and medicine; it is expected to contribute significantly to a better understanding of functioning of complex biological systems. This paper presents a unifying mathematical framework for investigating the principles of both robust stabilization and environmental disturbance attenuation for synthetic gene networks in synthetic biology. Further, from the unifying mathematical framework, we found that the phenotype robustness criterion for synthetic gene networks is the following: if intrinsic robustness + genetic robustness + environmental robustness ≦ network robustness, then the phenotype robustness can be maintained in spite of intrinsic parameter fluctuations, genetic variations, and environmental disturbances. Therefore, the trade-offs between intrinsic robustness, genetic robustness, environmental robustness, and network robustness in synthetic biology can also be investigated through corresponding phenotype robustness criteria from the systematic point of view. Finally, a robust synthetic design that involves network evolution algorithms with desired behavior under intrinsic parameter fluctuations, genetic variations, and environmental

  9. Space Synthetic Biology Project

    Science.gov (United States)

    Howard, David; Roman, Monsi; Mansell, James (Matt)

    2015-01-01

    Synthetic biology is an effort to make genetic engineering more useful by standardizing sections of genetic code. By standardizing genetic components, biological engineering will become much more similar to traditional fields of engineering, in which well-defined components and subsystems are readily available in markets. Specifications of the behavior of those components and subsystems can be used to model a system which incorporates them. Then, the behavior of the novel system can be simulated and optimized. Finally, the components and subsystems can be purchased and assembled to create the optimized system, which most often will exhibit behavior similar to that indicated by the model. The Space Synthetic Biology project began in 2012 as a multi-Center effort. The purpose of this project was to harness Synthetic Biology principals to enable NASA's missions. A central target for application was to Environmental Control & Life Support (ECLS). Engineers from NASA Marshall Space Flight Center's (MSFC's) ECLS Systems Development Branch (ES62) were brought into the project to contribute expertise in operational ECLS systems. Project lead scientists chose to pursue the development of bioelectrochemical technologies to spacecraft life support. Therefore, the ECLS element of the project became essentially an effort to develop a bioelectrochemical ECLS subsystem. Bioelectrochemical systems exploit the ability of many microorganisms to drive their metabolisms by direct or indirect utilization of electrical potential gradients. Whereas many microorganisms are capable of deriving the energy required for the processes of interest (such as carbon dioxide (CO2) fixation) from sunlight, it is believed that subsystems utilizing electrotrophs will exhibit smaller mass, volume, and power requirements than those that derive their energy from sunlight. In the first 2 years of the project, MSFC personnel conducted modeling, simulation, and conceptual design efforts to assist the

  10. Synthetic biology and its promises

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    José Manuel De Cózar Escalante

    2016-12-01

    Full Text Available Synthetic biology is a new science and emerging technology, or rather a technoscience, which converges with others such as nanotechnology, information technology, robotics, artificial intelligence and neuroscience. All have common features that could have highly concerning social and environmental impacts. With its ambitious goals of controlling complexity, redesigning and creating new living entities, synthetic biology perfectly exemplifies the new bioeconomic reality. This requires expanding the focus of the discussion beyond the limited comparative analysis of risks and benefits, to address uncertainties, reassign responsibilities and initiate a thorough social assessment of what is at stake.

  11. Synthetic biology as red herring.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Preston, Beth

    2013-12-01

    It has become commonplace to say that with the advent of technologies like synthetic biology the line between artifacts and living organisms, policed by metaphysicians since antiquity, is beginning to blur. But that line began to blur 10,000 years ago when plants and animals were first domesticated; and has been thoroughly blurred at least since agriculture became the dominant human subsistence pattern many millennia ago. Synthetic biology is ultimately only a late and unexceptional offshoot of this prehistoric development. From this perspective, then, synthetic biology is a red herring, distracting us from more thorough philosophical consideration of the most truly revolutionary human practice-agriculture. In the first section of this paper I will make this case with regard to ontology, arguing that synthetic biology crosses no ontological lines that were not crossed already in the Neolithic. In the second section I will construct a parallel case with regard to cognition, arguing that synthetic biology as biological engineering represents no cognitive advance over what was required for domestication and the new agricultural subsistence pattern it grounds. In the final section I will make the case with regard to human existence, arguing that synthetic biology, even if wildly successful, is not in a position to cause significant existential change in what it is to be human over and above the massive existential change caused by the transition to agriculture. I conclude that a longer historical perspective casts new light on some important issues in philosophy of technology and environmental philosophy. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  12. Synthetic biology, inspired by synthetic chemistry.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Malinova, V; Nallani, M; Meier, W P; Sinner, E K

    2012-07-16

    The topic synthetic biology appears still as an 'empty basket to be filled'. However, there is already plenty of claims and visions, as well as convincing research strategies about the theme of synthetic biology. First of all, synthetic biology seems to be about the engineering of biology - about bottom-up and top-down approaches, compromising complexity versus stability of artificial architectures, relevant in biology. Synthetic biology accounts for heterogeneous approaches towards minimal and even artificial life, the engineering of biochemical pathways on the organismic level, the modelling of molecular processes and finally, the combination of synthetic with nature-derived materials and architectural concepts, such as a cellular membrane. Still, synthetic biology is a discipline, which embraces interdisciplinary attempts in order to have a profound, scientific base to enable the re-design of nature and to compose architectures and processes with man-made matter. We like to give an overview about the developments in the field of synthetic biology, regarding polymer-based analogs of cellular membranes and what questions can be answered by applying synthetic polymer science towards the smallest unit in life, namely a cell. Copyright © 2012 Federation of European Biochemical Societies. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  13. Creating biological nanomaterials using synthetic biology

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Rice, MaryJoe K; Ruder, Warren C

    2014-01-01

    Synthetic biology is a new discipline that combines science and engineering approaches to precisely control biological networks. These signaling networks are especially important in fields such as biomedicine and biochemical engineering. Additionally, biological networks can also be critical to the production of naturally occurring biological nanomaterials, and as a result, synthetic biology holds tremendous potential in creating new materials. This review introduces the field of synthetic biology, discusses how biological systems naturally produce materials, and then presents examples and strategies for incorporating synthetic biology approaches in the development of new materials. In particular, strategies for using synthetic biology to produce both organic and inorganic nanomaterials are discussed. Ultimately, synthetic biology holds the potential to dramatically impact biological materials science with significant potential applications in medical systems. (review)

  14. Creating biological nanomaterials using synthetic biology.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rice, MaryJoe K; Ruder, Warren C

    2014-02-01

    Synthetic biology is a new discipline that combines science and engineering approaches to precisely control biological networks. These signaling networks are especially important in fields such as biomedicine and biochemical engineering. Additionally, biological networks can also be critical to the production of naturally occurring biological nanomaterials, and as a result, synthetic biology holds tremendous potential in creating new materials. This review introduces the field of synthetic biology, discusses how biological systems naturally produce materials, and then presents examples and strategies for incorporating synthetic biology approaches in the development of new materials. In particular, strategies for using synthetic biology to produce both organic and inorganic nanomaterials are discussed. Ultimately, synthetic biology holds the potential to dramatically impact biological materials science with significant potential applications in medical systems.

  15. Opportunities in plant synthetic biology.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cook, Charis; Martin, Lisa; Bastow, Ruth

    2014-05-01

    Synthetic biology is an emerging field uniting scientists from all disciplines with the aim of designing or re-designing biological processes. Initially, synthetic biology breakthroughs came from microbiology, chemistry, physics, computer science, materials science, mathematics, and engineering disciplines. A transition to multicellular systems is the next logical step for synthetic biologists and plants will provide an ideal platform for this new phase of research. This meeting report highlights some of the exciting plant synthetic biology projects, and tools and resources, presented and discussed at the 2013 GARNet workshop on plant synthetic biology.

  16. Synthetic biology: programming cells for biomedical applications.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hörner, Maximilian; Reischmann, Nadine; Weber, Wilfried

    2012-01-01

    The emerging field of synthetic biology is a novel biological discipline at the interface between traditional biology, chemistry, and engineering sciences. Synthetic biology aims at the rational design of complex synthetic biological devices and systems with desired properties by combining compatible, modular biological parts in a systematic manner. While the first engineered systems were mainly proof-of-principle studies to demonstrate the power of the modular engineering approach of synthetic biology, subsequent systems focus on applications in the health, environmental, and energy sectors. This review describes recent approaches for biomedical applications that were developed along the synthetic biology design hierarchy, at the level of individual parts, of devices, and of complex multicellular systems. It describes how synthetic biological parts can be used for the synthesis of drug-delivery tools, how synthetic biological devices can facilitate the discovery of novel drugs, and how multicellular synthetic ecosystems can give insight into population dynamics of parasites and hosts. These examples demonstrate how this new discipline could contribute to novel solutions in the biopharmaceutical industry.

  17. Analog synthetic biology.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sarpeshkar, R

    2014-03-28

    We analyse the pros and cons of analog versus digital computation in living cells. Our analysis is based on fundamental laws of noise in gene and protein expression, which set limits on the energy, time, space, molecular count and part-count resources needed to compute at a given level of precision. We conclude that analog computation is significantly more efficient in its use of resources than deterministic digital computation even at relatively high levels of precision in the cell. Based on this analysis, we conclude that synthetic biology must use analog, collective analog, probabilistic and hybrid analog-digital computational approaches; otherwise, even relatively simple synthetic computations in cells such as addition will exceed energy and molecular-count budgets. We present schematics for efficiently representing analog DNA-protein computation in cells. Analog electronic flow in subthreshold transistors and analog molecular flux in chemical reactions obey Boltzmann exponential laws of thermodynamics and are described by astoundingly similar logarithmic electrochemical potentials. Therefore, cytomorphic circuits can help to map circuit designs between electronic and biochemical domains. We review recent work that uses positive-feedback linearization circuits to architect wide-dynamic-range logarithmic analog computation in Escherichia coli using three transcription factors, nearly two orders of magnitude more efficient in parts than prior digital implementations.

  18. Synthetic biology and occupational risk.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Howard, John; Murashov, Vladimir; Schulte, Paul

    2017-03-01

    Synthetic biology is an emerging interdisciplinary field of biotechnology that involves applying the principles of engineering and chemical design to biological systems. Biosafety professionals have done an excellent job in addressing research laboratory safety as synthetic biology and gene editing have emerged from the larger field of biotechnology. Despite these efforts, risks posed by synthetic biology are of increasing concern as research procedures scale up to industrial processes in the larger bioeconomy. A greater number and variety of workers will be exposed to commercial synthetic biology risks in the future, including risks to a variety of workers from the use of lentiviral vectors as gene transfer devices. There is a need to review and enhance current protection measures in the field of synthetic biology, whether in experimental laboratories where new advances are being researched, in health care settings where treatments using viral vectors as gene delivery systems are increasingly being used, or in the industrial bioeconomy. Enhanced worker protection measures should include increased injury and illness surveillance of the synthetic biology workforce; proactive risk assessment and management of synthetic biology products; research on the relative effectiveness of extrinsic and intrinsic biocontainment methods; specific safety guidance for synthetic biology industrial processes; determination of appropriate medical mitigation measures for lentiviral vector exposure incidents; and greater awareness and involvement in synthetic biology safety by the general occupational safety and health community as well as by government occupational safety and health research and regulatory agencies.

  19. Co-design in synthetic biology: a system-level analysis of the development of an environmental sensing device.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ball, David A; Lux, Matthew W; Graef, Russell R; Peterson, Matthew W; Valenti, Jane D; Dileo, John; Peccoud, Jean

    2010-01-01

    The concept of co-design is common in engineering, where it is necessary, for example, to determine the optimal partitioning between hardware and software of the implementation of a system features. Here we propose to adapt co-design methodologies for synthetic biology. As a test case, we have designed an environmental sensing device that detects the presence of three chemicals, and returns an output only if at least two of the three chemicals are present. We show that the logical operations can be implemented in three different design domains: (1) the transcriptional domain using synthetically designed hybrid promoters, (2) the protein domain using bi-molecular fluorescence complementation, and (3) the fluorescence domain using spectral unmixing and relying on electronic processing. We discuss how these heterogeneous design strategies could be formalized to develop co-design algorithms capable of identifying optimal designs meeting user specifications.

  20. Synthetic Biology: Advancing Biological Frontiers by Building Synthetic Systems

    OpenAIRE

    Chen, Yvonne Yu-Hsuan; Galloway, Kate E; Smolke, Christina D

    2012-01-01

    Advances in synthetic biology are contributing to diverse research areas, from basic biology to biomanufacturing and disease therapy. We discuss the theoretical foundation, applications, and potential of this emerging field.

  1. Finding Hope in Synthetic Biology.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Takala, Tuija

    2017-04-01

    For some, synthetic biology represents great hope in offering possible solutions to many of the world's biggest problems, from hunger to sustainable development. Others remain fearful of the harmful uses, such as bioweapons, that synthetic biology can lend itself to, and most hold that issues of biosafety are of utmost importance. In this article, I will evaluate these points of view and conclude that although the biggest promises of synthetic biology are unlikely to become reality, and the probability of accidents is fairly substantial, synthetic biology could still be seen to benefit humanity by enhancing our ethical understanding and by offering a boost to world economy.

  2. [From synthetic biology to synthetic humankind].

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nouvel, Pascal

    2015-01-01

    In this paper, we propose an historical survey of the expression "synthetic biology" in order to identify its main philosophical components. The result of the analysis is then used to investigate the meaning of the notion of "synthetic man". It is shown that both notions share a common philosophical background that can be summed up by the short but meaningful assertion: "biology is technology". The analysis allows us to distinguish two notions that are often confused in transhumanist literature: the notion of synthetic man and the notion of renewed man. The consequences of this crucial distinction are discussed. Copyright © 2015 Académie des sciences. Published by Elsevier SAS. All rights reserved.

  3. The Ethics of Synthetic Biology

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Christiansen, Andreas

    The dissertation analyses and discusses a number of ethical issues that have been raised in connection with the development of synthetic biology. Synthetic biology is a set of new techniques for DNA-level design and construction of living beings with useful properties. The dissertation especially...

  4. Synthetic biology of polyketide synthases

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Yuzawa, Satoshi; Backman, Tyler W.H.; Keasling, Jay D.

    2018-01-01

    ). The modules are composed of enzymatic domains that share sequence and functional similarity across all known PKSs. We have used the nomenclature of synthetic biology to classify the enzymatic domains and modules as parts and devices, respectively, and have generated detailed lists of both. In addition, we...... realize the potential that synthetic biology approaches bring to this class of molecules....

  5. Synthetic biology and metabolic engineering.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stephanopoulos, Gregory

    2012-11-16

    Metabolic engineering emerged 20 years ago as the discipline occupied with the directed modification of metabolic pathways for the microbial synthesis of various products. As such, it deals with the engineering (design, construction, and optimization) of native as well as non-natural routes of product synthesis, aided in this task by the availability of synthetic DNA, the core enabling technology of synthetic biology. The two fields, however, only partially overlap in their interest in pathway engineering. While fabrication of biobricks, synthetic cells, genetic circuits, and nonlinear cell dynamics, along with pathway engineering, have occupied researchers in the field of synthetic biology, the sum total of these areas does not constitute a coherent definition of synthetic biology with a distinct intellectual foundation and well-defined areas of application. This paper reviews the origins of the two fields and advances two distinct paradigms for each of them: that of unit operations for metabolic engineering and electronic circuits for synthetic biology. In this context, metabolic engineering is about engineering cell factories for the biological manufacturing of chemical and pharmaceutical products, whereas the main focus of synthetic biology is fundamental biological research facilitated by the use of synthetic DNA and genetic circuits.

  6. Technical Assessment: Synthetic Biology

    Science.gov (United States)

    2015-01-01

    Pfizer, Bausch & Lomb, Coca - Cola , and other Fortune 500 companies 8 Data estimated by the... financial prize for ideas to drive forward the production of a sensor relying on synthetic organisms that can detect exposure to 500 specific chemicals

  7. Approaches to chemical synthetic biology.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chiarabelli, Cristiano; Stano, Pasquale; Anella, Fabrizio; Carrara, Paolo; Luisi, Pier Luigi

    2012-07-16

    Synthetic biology is first represented in terms of two complementary aspects, the bio-engineering one, based on the genetic manipulation of extant microbial forms in order to obtain forms of life which do not exist in nature; and the chemical synthetic biology, an approach mostly based on chemical manipulation for the laboratory synthesis of biological structures that do not exist in nature. The paper is mostly devoted to shortly review chemical synthetic biology projects currently carried out in our laboratory. In particular, we describe: the minimal cell project, then the "Never Born Proteins" and lastly the Never Born RNAs. We describe and critically analyze the main results, emphasizing the possible relevance of chemical synthetic biology for the progress in basic science and biotechnology. Copyright © 2012 Federation of European Biochemical Societies. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  8. Environmental biology

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Tschumi, P.A.

    1981-01-01

    Environmental biology illustrates the functioning of ecosystems and the dynamics of populations with many examples from limnology and terrestrial ecology. On this basis, present environmental problems are analyzed. The present environmental crisis is seen as a result of the failure to observe ecological laws. (orig.) [de

  9. Synthetic Biology and Personalized Medicine

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jain, K.K.

    2013-01-01

    Synthetic biology, application of synthetic chemistry to biology, is a broad term that covers the engineering of biological systems with structures and functions not found in nature to process information, manipulate chemicals, produce energy, maintain cell environment and enhance human health. Synthetic biology devices contribute not only to improve our understanding of disease mechanisms, but also provide novel diagnostic tools. Methods based on synthetic biology enable the design of novel strategies for the treatment of cancer, immune diseases metabolic disorders and infectious diseases as well as the production of cheap drugs. The potential of synthetic genome, using an expanded genetic code that is designed for specific drug synthesis as well as delivery and activation of the drug in vivo by a pathological signal, was already pointed out during a lecture delivered at Kuwait University in 2005. Of two approaches to synthetic biology, top-down and bottom-up, the latter is more relevant to the development of personalized medicines as it provides more flexibility in constructing a partially synthetic cell from basic building blocks for a desired task. PMID:22907209

  10. Synthetic Biology for Specialty Chemicals.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Markham, Kelly A; Alper, Hal S

    2015-01-01

    In this review, we address recent advances in the field of synthetic biology and describe how those tools have been applied to produce a wide variety of chemicals in microorganisms. Here we classify the expansion of the synthetic biology toolbox into three different categories based on their primary function in strain engineering-for design, for construction, and for optimization. Next, focusing on recent years, we look at how chemicals have been produced using these new synthetic biology tools. Advances in producing fuels are briefly described, followed by a more thorough treatment of commodity chemicals, specialty chemicals, pharmaceuticals, and nutraceuticals. Throughout this review, an emphasis is placed on how synthetic biology tools are applied to strain engineering. Finally, we discuss organism and host strain diversity and provide a future outlook in the field.

  11. Microfluidic Technologies for Synthetic Biology

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Sung Kuk Lee

    2011-06-01

    Full Text Available Microfluidic technologies have shown powerful abilities for reducing cost, time, and labor, and at the same time, for increasing accuracy, throughput, and performance in the analysis of biological and biochemical samples compared with the conventional, macroscale instruments. Synthetic biology is an emerging field of biology and has drawn much attraction due to its potential to create novel, functional biological parts and systems for special purposes. Since it is believed that the development of synthetic biology can be accelerated through the use of microfluidic technology, in this review work we focus our discussion on the latest microfluidic technologies that can provide unprecedented means in synthetic biology for dynamic profiling of gene expression/regulation with high resolution, highly sensitive on-chip and off-chip detection of metabolites, and whole-cell analysis.

  12. Space Synthetic Biology (SSB)

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration — This project focused on employing advanced biological engineering and bioelectrochemical reactor systems to increase life support loop closure and in situ resource...

  13. US Competitiveness in Synthetic Biology.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gronvall, Gigi Kwik

    2015-01-01

    Synthetic biology is an emerging technical field that aims to make biology easier to engineer; the field has applications in strategically important sectors for the US economy. While the United States currently leads in synthetic biology R&D, other nations are heavily investing in order to boost their economies, which will inevitably diminish the US leadership position. This outcome is not entirely negative--additional investments will expand markets--but it is critical that the US government take steps to remain competitive: There are applications from which the US population and economy may benefit; there are specific applications with importance for national defense; and US technical leadership will ensure that US experts have a leading role in synthetic biology governance, regulation, and oversight. Measures to increase competitiveness in S&T generally are broadly applicable for synthetic biology and should be pursued. However, the US government will also need to take action on fundamental issues that will affect the field's development, such as countering anti-GMO (genetically modified organism) sentiments and anti-GMO legislation. The United States should maintain its regulatory approach so that it is the product that is regulated, not the method used to create a product. At the same time, the United States needs to ensure that the regulatory framework is updated so that synthetic biology products do not fall into regulatory gaps. Finally, the United States needs to pay close attention to how synthetic biology applications may be governed internationally, such as through the Nagoya Protocol of the Convention on Biological Diversity, so that beneficial applications may be realized.

  14. Synthetic biology, metaphors and responsibility.

    Science.gov (United States)

    McLeod, Carmen; Nerlich, Brigitte

    2017-08-29

    Metaphors are not just decorative rhetorical devices that make speech pretty. They are fundamental tools for thinking about the world and acting on the world. The language we use to make a better world matters; words matter; metaphors matter. Words have consequences - ethical, social and legal ones, as well as political and economic ones. They need to be used 'responsibly'. They also need to be studied carefully - this is what we want to do through this editorial and the related thematic collection. In the context of synthetic biology, natural and social scientists have become increasingly interested in metaphors, a wave of interest that we want to exploit and amplify. We want to build on emerging articles and books on synthetic biology, metaphors of life and the ethical and moral implications of such metaphors. This editorial provides a brief introduction to synthetic biology and responsible innovation, as well as a comprehensive review of literature on the social, cultural and ethical impacts of metaphor use in genomics and synthetic biology. Our aim is to stimulate an interdisciplinary and international discussion on the impact that metaphors can have on science, policy and publics in the context of synthetic biology.

  15. Programming languages for synthetic biology.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Umesh, P; Naveen, F; Rao, Chanchala Uma Maheswara; Nair, Achuthsankar S

    2010-12-01

    In the backdrop of accelerated efforts for creating synthetic organisms, the nature and scope of an ideal programming language for scripting synthetic organism in-silico has been receiving increasing attention. A few programming languages for synthetic biology capable of defining, constructing, networking, editing and delivering genome scale models of cellular processes have been recently attempted. All these represent important points in a spectrum of possibilities. This paper introduces Kera, a state of the art programming language for synthetic biology which is arguably ahead of similar languages or tools such as GEC, Antimony and GenoCAD. Kera is a full-fledged object oriented programming language which is tempered by biopart rule library named Samhita which captures the knowledge regarding the interaction of genome components and catalytic molecules. Prominent feature of the language are demonstrated through a toy example and the road map for the future development of Kera is also presented.

  16. Where Synthetic Biology Meets ET

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rothschild, Lynn J.

    2016-01-01

    Synthetic biology - the design and construction of new biological parts and systems and the redesign of existing ones for useful purposes - has the potential to transform fields from pharmaceuticals to fuels. Our lab has focused on the potential of synthetic biology to revolutionize all three major parts of astrobiology: Where do we come from? Where are we going? and Are we alone? For the first and third, synthetic biology is allowing us to answer whether the evolutionary narrative that has played out on planet earth is likely to have been unique or universal. For example, in our lab we are re-evolving the biosynthetic pathways of amino acids in order to understand potential capabilities of an early organism with a limited repertoire of amino acids and developing techniques for the recovery of metals from spent electronics on other planetary bodies. And what about the limits for life? Can we create organisms that expand the envelope for life? In the future synthetic biology will play an increasing role in human activities both on earth, in fields as diverse as human health and the industrial production of novel bio-composites. Beyond earth, we will rely increasingly on biologically-provided life support, as we have throughout our evolutionary history. In order to do this, the field will build on two of the great contributions of astrobiology: studies of the origin of life and life in extreme environments.

  17. Synthetic Biology: Putting Synthesis into Biology

    Science.gov (United States)

    Liang, Jing; Luo, Yunzi; Zhao, Huimin

    2010-01-01

    The ability to manipulate living organisms is at the heart of a range of emerging technologies that serve to address important and current problems in environment, energy, and health. However, with all its complexity and interconnectivity, biology has for many years been recalcitrant to engineering manipulations. The recent advances in synthesis, analysis, and modeling methods have finally provided the tools necessary to manipulate living systems in meaningful ways, and have led to the coining of a field named synthetic biology. The scope of synthetic biology is as complicated as life itself – encompassing many branches of science, and across many scales of application. New DNA synthesis and assembly techniques have made routine the customization of very large DNA molecules. This in turn has allowed the incorporation of multiple genes and pathways. By coupling these with techniques that allow for the modeling and design of protein functions, scientists have now gained the tools to create completely novel biological machineries. Even the ultimate biological machinery – a self-replicating organism – is being pursued at this moment. It is the purpose of this review to dissect and organize these various components of synthetic biology into a coherent picture. PMID:21064036

  18. Control theory meets synthetic biology.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Del Vecchio, Domitilla; Dy, Aaron J; Qian, Yili

    2016-07-01

    The past several years have witnessed an increased presence of control theoretic concepts in synthetic biology. This review presents an organized summary of how these control design concepts have been applied to tackle a variety of problems faced when building synthetic biomolecular circuits in living cells. In particular, we describe success stories that demonstrate how simple or more elaborate control design methods can be used to make the behaviour of synthetic genetic circuits within a single cell or across a cell population more reliable, predictable and robust to perturbations. The description especially highlights technical challenges that uniquely arise from the need to implement control designs within a new hardware setting, along with implemented or proposed solutions. Some engineering solutions employing complex feedback control schemes are also described, which, however, still require a deeper theoretical analysis of stability, performance and robustness properties. Overall, this paper should help synthetic biologists become familiar with feedback control concepts as they can be used in their application area. At the same time, it should provide some domain knowledge to control theorists who wish to enter the rising and exciting field of synthetic biology. © 2016 The Author(s).

  19. Synthetic biology meets tissue engineering.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Davies, Jamie A; Cachat, Elise

    2016-06-15

    Classical tissue engineering is aimed mainly at producing anatomically and physiologically realistic replacements for normal human tissues. It is done either by encouraging cellular colonization of manufactured matrices or cellular recolonization of decellularized natural extracellular matrices from donor organs, or by allowing cells to self-organize into organs as they do during fetal life. For repair of normal bodies, this will be adequate but there are reasons for making unusual, non-evolved tissues (repair of unusual bodies, interface to electromechanical prostheses, incorporating living cells into life-support machines). Synthetic biology is aimed mainly at engineering cells so that they can perform custom functions: applying synthetic biological approaches to tissue engineering may be one way of engineering custom structures. In this article, we outline the 'embryological cycle' of patterning, differentiation and morphogenesis and review progress that has been made in constructing synthetic biological systems to reproduce these processes in new ways. The state-of-the-art remains a long way from making truly synthetic tissues, but there are now at least foundations for future work. © 2016 Authors; published by Portland Press Limited.

  20. Synthetic biology: engineering molecular computers

    CERN Multimedia

    CERN. Geneva

    2018-01-01

    Complicated systems cannot survive the rigors of a chaotic environment, without balancing mechanisms that sense, decide upon and counteract the exerted disturbances. Especially so with living organisms, forced by competition to incredible complexities, escalating also their self-controlling plight. Therefore, they compute. Can we harness biological mechanisms to create artificial computing systems? Biology offers several levels of design abstraction: molecular machines, cells, organisms... ranging from the more easily-defined to the more inherently complex. At the bottom of this stack we find the nucleic acids, RNA and DNA, with their digital structure and relatively precise interactions. They are central enablers of designing artificial biological systems, in the confluence of engineering and biology, that we call Synthetic biology. In the first part, let us follow their trail towards an overview of building computing machines with molecules -- and in the second part, take the case study of iGEM Greece 201...

  1. Synthetic biology character and impact

    CERN Document Server

    Pade, Christian; Wigger, Henning; Gleich, Arnim

    2015-01-01

    Synthetic Biology is already an object of intensive debate. However, to a great extent the discussion to date has been concerned with fundamental ethical, religious and philosophical questions. By contrast, based on an investigation of the field’s scientific and technological character, this book focuses on new functionalities provided by synthetic biology and explores the associated opportunities and risks. Following an introduction to the subject and a discussion of the most central paradigms and methodologies, the book provides an overview of the structure of this field of science and technology. It informs the reader about the current stage of development, as well as topical problems and potential opportunities in important fields of application. But not only the science itself is in focus. In order to investigate its broader impact, ecological as well as ethical implications will be considered, paving the way for a discussion of responsibilities in the context of a field at a transitional crossroads be...

  2. Meeting Report: Synthetic Biology Jamboree for Undergraduates

    Science.gov (United States)

    Campbell, A. Malcolm

    2005-01-01

    The field of synthetic biology (the name is derived from an analogy to synthetic chemistry) has recognized itself as a "field" only since about 2002. Synthetic biology has gotten some high-profile attention recently, but most people are not aware the field even exists. Synthetic biologists apply engineering principles to genomic circuits to…

  3. Design Automation in Synthetic Biology.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Appleton, Evan; Madsen, Curtis; Roehner, Nicholas; Densmore, Douglas

    2017-04-03

    Design automation refers to a category of software tools for designing systems that work together in a workflow for designing, building, testing, and analyzing systems with a target behavior. In synthetic biology, these tools are called bio-design automation (BDA) tools. In this review, we discuss the BDA tools areas-specify, design, build, test, and learn-and introduce the existing software tools designed to solve problems in these areas. We then detail the functionality of some of these tools and show how they can be used together to create the desired behavior of two types of modern synthetic genetic regulatory networks. Copyright © 2017 Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press; all rights reserved.

  4. Scientific Opinion on Risk Assessment of Synthetic Biology.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Epstein, Michelle M; Vermeire, Theo

    2016-08-01

    In 2013, three Scientific Committees of the European Commission (EC) drafted Scientific Opinions on synthetic biology that provide an operational definition and address risk assessment methodology, safety aspects, environmental risks, knowledge gaps, and research priorities. These Opinions contribute to the international discussions on the risk governance for synthetic biology developments. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  5. Mammalian Synthetic Biology: Engineering Biological Systems.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Black, Joshua B; Perez-Pinera, Pablo; Gersbach, Charles A

    2017-06-21

    The programming of new functions into mammalian cells has tremendous application in research and medicine. Continued improvements in the capacity to sequence and synthesize DNA have rapidly increased our understanding of mechanisms of gene function and regulation on a genome-wide scale and have expanded the set of genetic components available for programming cell biology. The invention of new research tools, including targetable DNA-binding systems such as CRISPR/Cas9 and sensor-actuator devices that can recognize and respond to diverse chemical, mechanical, and optical inputs, has enabled precise control of complex cellular behaviors at unprecedented spatial and temporal resolution. These tools have been critical for the expansion of synthetic biology techniques from prokaryotic and lower eukaryotic hosts to mammalian systems. Recent progress in the development of genome and epigenome editing tools and in the engineering of designer cells with programmable genetic circuits is expanding approaches to prevent, diagnose, and treat disease and to establish personalized theranostic strategies for next-generation medicines. This review summarizes the development of these enabling technologies and their application to transforming mammalian synthetic biology into a distinct field in research and medicine.

  6. Synthetic Biology Guides Biofuel Production

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Michael R. Connor

    2010-01-01

    Full Text Available The advancement of microbial processes for the production of renewable liquid fuels has increased with concerns about the current fuel economy. The development of advanced biofuels in particular has risen to address some of the shortcomings of ethanol. These advanced fuels have chemical properties similar to petroleum-based liquid fuels, thus removing the need for engine modification or infrastructure redesign. While the productivity and titers of each of these processes remains to be improved, progress in synthetic biology has provided tools to guide the engineering of these processes through present and future challenges.

  7. Synthetic biology: Emerging bioengineering in Indonesia

    Science.gov (United States)

    Suhandono, Sony

    2017-05-01

    The development of synthetic biology will shape the new era of science and technology. It is an emerging bioengineering technique involving genetic engineering which can alter the phenotype and behavior of the cell or the new product. Synthetic biology may produce biomaterials, drugs, vaccines, biosensors, and even a recombinant secondary metabolite used in herbal and complementary medicine, such as artemisinin, a malaria drug which is usually extracted from the plant Artemisia annua. The power of synthetic biology has encouraged scientists in Indonesia, and is still in early development. This paper also covers some research from an Indonesian research institute in synthetic biology such as observing the production of bio surfactants and the enhanced production of artemisinin using a transient expression system. Synthetic biology development in Indonesia may also be related to the iGEM competition, a large synthetic biology research competition which was attended by several universities in Indonesia. The application of synthetic biology for drug discovery will be discussed.

  8. Synthetic biology of antimicrobial discovery

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zakeri, Bijan; Lu, Timothy K.

    2012-01-01

    Antibiotic discovery has a storied history. From the discovery of penicillin by Sir Alexander Fleming to the relentless quest for antibiotics by Selman Waksman, the stories have become like folklore, used to inspire future generations of scientists. However, recent discovery pipelines have run dry at a time when multidrug resistant pathogens are on the rise. Nature has proven to be a valuable reservoir of antimicrobial agents, which are primarily produced by modularized biochemical pathways. Such modularization is well suited to remodeling by an interdisciplinary approach that spans science and engineering. Herein, we discuss the biological engineering of small molecules, peptides, and non-traditional antimicrobials and provide an overview of the growing applicability of synthetic biology to antimicrobials discovery. PMID:23654251

  9. Synthetic biology of antimicrobial discovery.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zakeri, Bijan; Lu, Timothy K

    2013-07-19

    Antibiotic discovery has a storied history. From the discovery of penicillin by Sir Alexander Fleming to the relentless quest for antibiotics by Selman Waksman, the stories have become like folklore used to inspire future generations of scientists. However, recent discovery pipelines have run dry at a time when multidrug-resistant pathogens are on the rise. Nature has proven to be a valuable reservoir of antimicrobial agents, which are primarily produced by modularized biochemical pathways. Such modularization is well suited to remodeling by an interdisciplinary approach that spans science and engineering. Herein, we discuss the biological engineering of small molecules, peptides, and non-traditional antimicrobials and provide an overview of the growing applicability of synthetic biology to antimicrobials discovery.

  10. Synthetic Biology of Polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Meng, De-Chuan; Chen, Guo-Qiang

    Microbial polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA) are a family of biodegradable and biocompatible polyesters which have been extensively studied using synthetic biology and metabolic engineering methods for improving production and for widening its diversity. Synthetic biology has allowed PHA to become composition controllable random copolymers, homopolymers, and block copolymers. Recent developments showed that it is possible to establish a microbial platform for producing not only random copolymers with controllable monomers and their ratios but also structurally defined homopolymers and block copolymers. This was achieved by engineering the genome of Pseudomonas putida or Pseudomonas entomophiles to weaken the β-oxidation and in situ fatty acid synthesis pathways, so that a fatty acid fed to the bacteria maintains its original chain length and structures when incorporated into the PHA chains. The engineered bacterium allows functional groups in a fatty acid to be introduced into PHA, forming functional PHA, which, upon grafting, generates endless PHA variety. Recombinant Escherichia coli also succeeded in producing efficiently poly(3-hydroxypropionate) or P3HP, the strongest member of PHA. Synthesis pathways of P3HP and its copolymer P3HB3HP of 3-hydroxybutyrate and 3-hydroxypropionate were assembled respectively to allow their synthesis from glucose. CRISPRi was also successfully used to manipulate simultaneously multiple genes and control metabolic flux in E. coli to obtain a series of copolymer P3HB4HB of 3-hydroxybutyrate (3HB) and 4-hydroxybutyrate (4HB). The bacterial shapes were successfully engineered for enhanced PHA accumulation.

  11. Understanding Biological Regulation Through Synthetic Biology.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bashor, Caleb J; Collins, James J

    2018-03-16

    Engineering synthetic gene regulatory circuits proceeds through iterative cycles of design, building, and testing. Initial circuit designs must rely on often-incomplete models of regulation established by fields of reductive inquiry-biochemistry and molecular and systems biology. As differences in designed and experimentally observed circuit behavior are inevitably encountered, investigated, and resolved, each turn of the engineering cycle can force a resynthesis in understanding of natural network function. Here, we outline research that uses the process of gene circuit engineering to advance biological discovery. Synthetic gene circuit engineering research has not only refined our understanding of cellular regulation but furnished biologists with a toolkit that can be directed at natural systems to exact precision manipulation of network structure. As we discuss, using circuit engineering to predictively reorganize, rewire, and reconstruct cellular regulation serves as the ultimate means of testing and understanding how cellular phenotype emerges from systems-level network function. Expected final online publication date for the Annual Review of Biophysics Volume 47 is May 20, 2018. Please see http://www.annualreviews.org/page/journal/pubdates for revised estimates.

  12. Synthetic biology: an emerging engineering discipline.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cheng, Allen A; Lu, Timothy K

    2012-01-01

    Over the past decade, synthetic biology has emerged as an engineering discipline for biological systems. Compared with other substrates, biology poses a unique set of engineering challenges resulting from an incomplete understanding of natural biological systems and tools for manipulating them. To address these challenges, synthetic biology is advancing from developing proof-of-concept designs to focusing on core platforms for rational and high-throughput biological engineering. These platforms span the entire biological design cycle, including DNA construction, parts libraries, computational design tools, and interfaces for manipulating and probing synthetic circuits. The development of these enabling technologies requires an engineering mindset to be applied to biology, with an emphasis on generalizable techniques in addition to application-specific designs. This review aims to discuss the progress and challenges in synthetic biology and to illustrate areas where synthetic biology may impact biomedical engineering and human health.

  13. Tracking the emergence of synthetic biology.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Shapira, Philip; Kwon, Seokbeom; Youtie, Jan

    2017-01-01

    Synthetic biology is an emerging domain that combines biological and engineering concepts and which has seen rapid growth in research, innovation, and policy interest in recent years. This paper contributes to efforts to delineate this emerging domain by presenting a newly constructed bibliometric definition of synthetic biology. Our approach is dimensioned from a core set of papers in synthetic biology, using procedures to obtain benchmark synthetic biology publication records, extract keywords from these benchmark records, and refine the keywords, supplemented with articles published in dedicated synthetic biology journals. We compare our search strategy with other recent bibliometric approaches to define synthetic biology, using a common source of publication data for the period from 2000 to 2015. The paper details the rapid growth and international spread of research in synthetic biology in recent years, demonstrates that diverse research disciplines are contributing to the multidisciplinary development of synthetic biology research, and visualizes this by profiling synthetic biology research on the map of science. We further show the roles of a relatively concentrated set of research sponsors in funding the growth and trajectories of synthetic biology. In addition to discussing these analyses, the paper notes limitations and suggests lines for further work.

  14. Synthetic biology for microbial heavy metal biosensors.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kim, Hyun Ju; Jeong, Haeyoung; Lee, Sang Jun

    2018-02-01

    Using recombinant DNA technology, various whole-cell biosensors have been developed for detection of environmental pollutants, including heavy metal ions. Whole-cell biosensors have several advantages: easy and inexpensive cultivation, multiple assays, and no requirement of any special techniques for analysis. In the era of synthetic biology, cutting-edge DNA sequencing and gene synthesis technologies have accelerated the development of cell-based biosensors. Here, we summarize current technological advances in whole-cell heavy metal biosensors, including the synthetic biological components (bioparts), sensing and reporter modules, genetic circuits, and chassis cells. We discuss several opportunities for improvement of synthetic cell-based biosensors. First, new functional modules must be discovered in genome databases, and this knowledge must be used to upgrade specific bioparts through molecular engineering. Second, modules must be assembled into functional biosystems in chassis cells. Third, heterogeneity of individual cells in the microbial population must be eliminated. In the perspectives, the development of whole-cell biosensors is also discussed in the aspects of cultivation methods and synthetic cells.

  15. Synthetic biology: a utilitarian perspective.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Smith, Kevin

    2013-10-01

    I examine the positive and negative features of synthetic biology ('SynBio') from a utilitarian ethical perspective. The potential beneficial outcomes from SynBio in the context of medicine are substantial; however it is not presently possible to predict precise outcomes due to the nascent state of the field. Potential negative outcomes from SynBio also exist, including iatrogenesis and bioterrorism; however it is not yet possible to quantify these risks. I argue that the application of a 'precautionary' approach to SynBio is ethically fraught, as is the notion that SynBio-associated knowledge ought to be restricted. I conclude that utilitarians ought to support a broadly laissez-faire stance in respect of SynBio. © 2013 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  16. Synergistic Synthetic Biology: Units in Concert

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Trosset, Jean-Yves; Carbonell, Pablo

    2013-01-01

    Synthetic biology aims at translating the methods and strategies from engineering into biology in order to streamline the design and construction of biological devices through standardized parts. Modular synthetic biology devices are designed by means of an adequate elimination of cross-talk that makes circuits orthogonal and specific. To that end, synthetic constructs need to be adequately optimized through in silico modeling by choosing the right complement of genetic parts and by experimental tuning through directed evolution and craftsmanship. In this review, we consider an additional and complementary tool available to the synthetic biologist for innovative design and successful construction of desired circuit functionalities: biological synergies. Synergy is a prevalent emergent property in biological systems that arises from the concerted action of multiple factors producing an amplification or cancelation effect compared with individual actions alone. Synergies appear in domains as diverse as those involved in chemical and protein activity, polypharmacology, and metabolic pathway complementarity. In conventional synthetic biology designs, synergistic cross-talk between parts and modules is generally attenuated in order to verify their orthogonality. Synergistic interactions, however, can induce emergent behavior that might prove useful for synthetic biology applications, like in functional circuit design, multi-drug treatment, or in sensing and delivery devices. Synergistic design principles are therefore complementary to those coming from orthogonal design and may provide added value to synthetic biology applications. The appropriate modeling, characterization, and design of synergies between biological parts and units will allow the discovery of yet unforeseeable, novel synthetic biology applications.

  17. Synergistic Synthetic Biology: Units in Concert

    Science.gov (United States)

    Trosset, Jean-Yves; Carbonell, Pablo

    2013-01-01

    Synthetic biology aims at translating the methods and strategies from engineering into biology in order to streamline the design and construction of biological devices through standardized parts. Modular synthetic biology devices are designed by means of an adequate elimination of cross-talk that makes circuits orthogonal and specific. To that end, synthetic constructs need to be adequately optimized through in silico modeling by choosing the right complement of genetic parts and by experimental tuning through directed evolution and craftsmanship. In this review, we consider an additional and complementary tool available to the synthetic biologist for innovative design and successful construction of desired circuit functionalities: biological synergies. Synergy is a prevalent emergent property in biological systems that arises from the concerted action of multiple factors producing an amplification or cancelation effect compared with individual actions alone. Synergies appear in domains as diverse as those involved in chemical and protein activity, polypharmacology, and metabolic pathway complementarity. In conventional synthetic biology designs, synergistic cross-talk between parts and modules is generally attenuated in order to verify their orthogonality. Synergistic interactions, however, can induce emergent behavior that might prove useful for synthetic biology applications, like in functional circuit design, multi-drug treatment, or in sensing and delivery devices. Synergistic design principles are therefore complementary to those coming from orthogonal design and may provide added value to synthetic biology applications. The appropriate modeling, characterization, and design of synergies between biological parts and units will allow the discovery of yet unforeseeable, novel synthetic biology applications. PMID:25022769

  18. Synthetic biology assemblies for sustainable space exploration

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration — The work utilized synthetic biology to create sustainable food production processes by developing technology to efficiently convert inedible crop waste to...

  19. Word selection affects perceptions of synthetic biology

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Tonidandel Scott

    2011-07-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Members of the synthetic biology community have discussed the significance of word selection when describing synthetic biology to the general public. In particular, many leaders proposed the word "create" was laden with negative connotations. We found that word choice and framing does affect public perception of synthetic biology. In a controlled experiment, participants perceived synthetic biology more negatively when "create" was used to describe the field compared to "construct" (p = 0.008. Contrary to popular opinion among synthetic biologists, however, low religiosity individuals were more influenced negatively by the framing manipulation than high religiosity people. Our results suggest that synthetic biologists directly influence public perception of their field through avoidance of the word "create".

  20. Opportunities for microfluidic technologies in synthetic biology

    OpenAIRE

    Gulati, Shelly; Rouilly, Vincent; Niu, Xize; Chappell, James; Kitney, Richard I.; Edel, Joshua B.; Freemont, Paul S.; deMello, Andrew J.

    2009-01-01

    We introduce microfluidics technologies as a key foundational technology for synthetic biology experimentation. Recent advances in the field of microfluidics are reviewed and the potential of such a technological platform to support the rapid development of synthetic biology solutions is discussed.

  1. A living foundry for Synthetic Biological Materials: A synthetic biology roadmap to new advanced materials

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Rosalind A. Le Feuvre

    2018-06-01

    Full Text Available Society is on the cusp of harnessing recent advances in synthetic biology to discover new bio-based products and routes to their affordable and sustainable manufacture. This is no more evident than in the discovery and manufacture of Synthetic Biological Materials, where synthetic biology has the capacity to usher in a new Materials from Biology era that will revolutionise the discovery and manufacture of innovative synthetic biological materials. These will encompass novel, smart, functionalised and hybrid materials for diverse applications whose discovery and routes to bio-production will be stimulated by the fusion of new technologies positioned across physical, digital and biological spheres. This article, which developed from an international workshop held in Manchester, United Kingdom, in 2017 [1], sets out to identify opportunities in the new materials from biology era. It considers requirements, early understanding and foresight of the challenges faced in delivering a Discovery to Manufacturing Pipeline for synthetic biological materials using synthetic biology approaches. This challenge spans the complete production cycle from intelligent and predictive design, fabrication, evaluation and production of synthetic biological materials to new ways of bringing these products to market. Pathway opportunities are identified that will help foster expertise sharing and infrastructure development to accelerate the delivery of a new generation of synthetic biological materials and the leveraging of existing investments in synthetic biology and advanced materials research to achieve this goal. Keywords: Synthetic biology, Materials, Biological materials, Biomaterials, Advanced materials

  2. Synthetic Biology: Mapping the Scientific Landscape

    Science.gov (United States)

    Oldham, Paul; Hall, Stephen; Burton, Geoff

    2012-01-01

    This article uses data from Thomson Reuters Web of Science to map and analyse the scientific landscape for synthetic biology. The article draws on recent advances in data visualisation and analytics with the aim of informing upcoming international policy debates on the governance of synthetic biology by the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA) of the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity. We use mapping techniques to identify how synthetic biology can best be understood and the range of institutions, researchers and funding agencies involved. Debates under the Convention are likely to focus on a possible moratorium on the field release of synthetic organisms, cells or genomes. Based on the empirical evidence we propose that guidance could be provided to funding agencies to respect the letter and spirit of the Convention on Biological Diversity in making research investments. Building on the recommendations of the United States Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues we demonstrate that it is possible to promote independent and transparent monitoring of developments in synthetic biology using modern information tools. In particular, public and policy understanding and engagement with synthetic biology can be enhanced through the use of online interactive tools. As a step forward in this process we make existing data on the scientific literature on synthetic biology available in an online interactive workbook so that researchers, policy makers and civil society can explore the data and draw conclusions for themselves. PMID:22539946

  3. Philosophy of Systems and Synthetic Biology

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Green, Sara

    2017-01-01

    This entry aims to clarify how systems and synthetic biology contribute to and extend discussions within philosophy of science. Unlike fields such as developmental biology or molecular biology, systems and synthetic biology are not easily demarcated by a focus on a specific subject area or level...... of organization. Rather, they are characterized by the development and application of mathematical, computational, and synthetic modeling strategies in response to complex problems and challenges within the life sciences. Proponents of systems and synthetic biology often stress the necessity of a perspective...... that goes beyond the scope of molecular biology and genetic engineering, respectively. With the emphasis on systems and interaction networks, the approaches explicitly engage in one of the oldest philosophical discussions on the relationship between parts and wholes, or between reductionism and holism...

  4. Synthetic Biology: game changer in intelectual property

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Laurens Landeweerd

    2016-12-01

    Full Text Available Synthetic biology can be considered a game changer that plays an important role in the current NBIC, or BINC convergence of nano-, bio-, info and cognitive sciences. Although most synthetic biology experts are unaware of it, the field appeals to the imagination in its adherence to targets that were usually associated with premodern alchemist science. This paper elaborates several aspects of synthetic biology as well as its consequences for long held notions of intellectual property and the ontological categories of scientific discovery on the one hand and engineering on the other, the distinction between natural and artificial, the grown and the made.

  5. Defining the Synthetic Biology Supply Chain

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Frazar, Sarah L.; Hund, Gretchen E.; Bonheyo, George T.; Diggans, James; Bartholomew, Rachel A.; Gehrig, Lindsey; Greaves, Mark

    2017-08-01

    In this article, a team of experts in synthetic biology, data analytics, and national security describe the overall supply chain surrounding synthetic biology. The team analyzes selected interactions within that network to better understand the risks raised by synthetic biology and identifies opportunities for risk mitigation. To introduce the concept, the article will briefly describe how an understanding of supply chains has been important in promoting nuclear nonproliferation objectives. The article concludes by assessing the structure and networks identified in the supply chains to reveal potential opportunities for future biodefense research and development; options for additional information exchange; and means to interdict, detect, or deter suspicious activity.

  6. A living foundry for Synthetic Biological Materials: A synthetic biology roadmap to new advanced materials.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Le Feuvre, Rosalind A; Scrutton, Nigel S

    2018-06-01

    Society is on the cusp of harnessing recent advances in synthetic biology to discover new bio-based products and routes to their affordable and sustainable manufacture. This is no more evident than in the discovery and manufacture of Synthetic Biological Materials , where synthetic biology has the capacity to usher in a new Materials from Biology era that will revolutionise the discovery and manufacture of innovative synthetic biological materials. These will encompass novel, smart, functionalised and hybrid materials for diverse applications whose discovery and routes to bio-production will be stimulated by the fusion of new technologies positioned across physical, digital and biological spheres. This article, which developed from an international workshop held in Manchester, United Kingdom, in 2017 [1], sets out to identify opportunities in the new materials from biology era. It considers requirements, early understanding and foresight of the challenges faced in delivering a Discovery to Manufacturing Pipeline for synthetic biological materials using synthetic biology approaches. This challenge spans the complete production cycle from intelligent and predictive design, fabrication, evaluation and production of synthetic biological materials to new ways of bringing these products to market. Pathway opportunities are identified that will help foster expertise sharing and infrastructure development to accelerate the delivery of a new generation of synthetic biological materials and the leveraging of existing investments in synthetic biology and advanced materials research to achieve this goal.

  7. Synthetic Biology and the Translational Imperative.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Heidari Feidt, Raheleh; Ienca, Marcello; Elger, Bernice Simone; Folcher, Marc

    2017-12-18

    Advances at the interface between the biological sciences and engineering are giving rise to emerging research fields such as synthetic biology. Harnessing the potential of synthetic biology requires timely and adequate translation into clinical practice. However, the translational research enterprise is currently facing fundamental obstacles that slow down the transition of scientific discoveries from the laboratory to the patient bedside. These obstacles including scarce financial resources and deficiency of organizational and logistic settings are widely discussed as primary impediments to translational research. In addition, a number of socio-ethical considerations inherent in translational research need to be addressed. As the translational capacity of synthetic biology is tightly linked to its social acceptance and ethical approval, ethical limitations may-together with financial and organizational problems-be co-determinants of suboptimal translation. Therefore, an early assessment of such limitations will contribute to proactively favor successful translation and prevent the promising potential of synthetic biology from remaining under-expressed. Through the discussion of two case-specific inventions in synthetic biology and their associated ethical implications, we illustrate the socio-ethical challenges ahead in the process of implementing synthetic biology into clinical practice. Since reducing the translational lag is essential for delivering the benefits of basic biomedical research to society at large and promoting global health, we advocate a moral obligation to accelerating translational research: the "translational imperative."

  8. CRISPR and the Rebirth of Synthetic Biology

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Heidari, Raheleh; Shaw, David Martin; Elger, Bernice Simone

    Emergence of novel genome engineering technologies such as clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeat (CRISPR) has refocused attention on unresolved ethical complications of synthetic biology. Biosecurity concerns, deontological issues and human right aspects of genome editing have

  9. Synthetic biology platform technologies for antimicrobial applications.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Braff, Dana; Shis, David; Collins, James J

    2016-10-01

    The growing prevalence of antibiotic resistance calls for new approaches in the development of antimicrobial therapeutics. Likewise, improved diagnostic measures are essential in guiding the application of targeted therapies and preventing the evolution of therapeutic resistance. Discovery platforms are also needed to form new treatment strategies and identify novel antimicrobial agents. By applying engineering principles to molecular biology, synthetic biologists have developed platforms that improve upon, supplement, and will perhaps supplant traditional broad-spectrum antibiotics. Efforts in engineering bacteriophages and synthetic probiotics demonstrate targeted antimicrobial approaches that can be fine-tuned using synthetic biology-derived principles. Further, the development of paper-based, cell-free expression systems holds promise in promoting the clinical translation of molecular biology tools for diagnostic purposes. In this review, we highlight emerging synthetic biology platform technologies that are geared toward the generation of new antimicrobial therapies, diagnostics, and discovery channels. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  10. Defining the Synthetic Biology Supply Chain.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Frazar, Sarah L; Hund, Gretchen E; Bonheyo, George T; Diggans, James; Bartholomew, Rachel A; Gehrig, Lindsey; Greaves, Mark

    Several recent articles have described risks posed by synthetic biology and spurred vigorous discussion in the scientific, commercial, and government communities about how to best detect, prevent, regulate, and respond to these risks. The Pacific Northwest National Laboratory's (PNNL) deep experience working with dual-use technologies for the nuclear industry has shown that analysis of supply chains can reveal security vulnerabilities and ways to mitigate security risk without hindering beneficial research and commerce. In this article, a team of experts in synthetic biology, data analytics, and national security describe the overall supply chain surrounding synthetic biology to illustrate new insights about the effectiveness of current regulations, the possible need for different screening approaches, and new technical solutions that could help identify or mitigate risks in the synthetic biology supply chain.

  11. [Progress in synthetic biology of "973 Funding Program" in China].

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chen, Guoqiang; Wang, Ying

    2015-06-01

    This paper reviews progresses made in China from 2011 in areas of "Synthetic Biology" supported by State Basic Research 973 Program. Till the end of 2014, 9 "synthetic biology" projects have been initiated with emphasis on "microbial manufactures" with the 973 Funding Program. Combined with the very recent launch of one project on "mammalian cell synthetic biology" and another on "plant synthetic biology", Chinese "synthetic biology" research reflects its focus on "manufactures" while not giving up efforts on "synthetic biology" of complex systems.

  12. The Synthetic Biology Open Language (SBOL) provides a community standard for communicating designs in synthetic biology.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Galdzicki, Michal; Clancy, Kevin P; Oberortner, Ernst; Pocock, Matthew; Quinn, Jacqueline Y; Rodriguez, Cesar A; Roehner, Nicholas; Wilson, Mandy L; Adam, Laura; Anderson, J Christopher; Bartley, Bryan A; Beal, Jacob; Chandran, Deepak; Chen, Joanna; Densmore, Douglas; Endy, Drew; Grünberg, Raik; Hallinan, Jennifer; Hillson, Nathan J; Johnson, Jeffrey D; Kuchinsky, Allan; Lux, Matthew; Misirli, Goksel; Peccoud, Jean; Plahar, Hector A; Sirin, Evren; Stan, Guy-Bart; Villalobos, Alan; Wipat, Anil; Gennari, John H; Myers, Chris J; Sauro, Herbert M

    2014-06-01

    The re-use of previously validated designs is critical to the evolution of synthetic biology from a research discipline to an engineering practice. Here we describe the Synthetic Biology Open Language (SBOL), a proposed data standard for exchanging designs within the synthetic biology community. SBOL represents synthetic biology designs in a community-driven, formalized format for exchange between software tools, research groups and commercial service providers. The SBOL Developers Group has implemented SBOL as an XML/RDF serialization and provides software libraries and specification documentation to help developers implement SBOL in their own software. We describe early successes, including a demonstration of the utility of SBOL for information exchange between several different software tools and repositories from both academic and industrial partners. As a community-driven standard, SBOL will be updated as synthetic biology evolves to provide specific capabilities for different aspects of the synthetic biology workflow.

  13. Mammalian synthetic biology: emerging medical applications.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kis, Zoltán; Pereira, Hugo Sant'Ana; Homma, Takayuki; Pedrigi, Ryan M; Krams, Rob

    2015-05-06

    In this review, we discuss new emerging medical applications of the rapidly evolving field of mammalian synthetic biology. We start with simple mammalian synthetic biological components and move towards more complex and therapy-oriented gene circuits. A comprehensive list of ON-OFF switches, categorized into transcriptional, post-transcriptional, translational and post-translational, is presented in the first sections. Subsequently, Boolean logic gates, synthetic mammalian oscillators and toggle switches will be described. Several synthetic gene networks are further reviewed in the medical applications section, including cancer therapy gene circuits, immuno-regulatory networks, among others. The final sections focus on the applicability of synthetic gene networks to drug discovery, drug delivery, receptor-activating gene circuits and mammalian biomanufacturing processes. © 2015 The Author(s) Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved.

  14. Informing biological design by integration of systems and synthetic biology.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Smolke, Christina D; Silver, Pamela A

    2011-03-18

    Synthetic biology aims to make the engineering of biology faster and more predictable. In contrast, systems biology focuses on the interaction of myriad components and how these give rise to the dynamic and complex behavior of biological systems. Here, we examine the synergies between these two fields. Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  15. Mammalian synthetic biology for studying the cell.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mathur, Melina; Xiang, Joy S; Smolke, Christina D

    2017-01-02

    Synthetic biology is advancing the design of genetic devices that enable the study of cellular and molecular biology in mammalian cells. These genetic devices use diverse regulatory mechanisms to both examine cellular processes and achieve precise and dynamic control of cellular phenotype. Synthetic biology tools provide novel functionality to complement the examination of natural cell systems, including engineered molecules with specific activities and model systems that mimic complex regulatory processes. Continued development of quantitative standards and computational tools will expand capacities to probe cellular mechanisms with genetic devices to achieve a more comprehensive understanding of the cell. In this study, we review synthetic biology tools that are being applied to effectively investigate diverse cellular processes, regulatory networks, and multicellular interactions. We also discuss current challenges and future developments in the field that may transform the types of investigation possible in cell biology. © 2017 Mathur et al.

  16. Synthetic biology era: Improving antibiotic's world.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Guzmán-Trampe, Silvia; Ceapa, Corina D; Manzo-Ruiz, Monserrat; Sánchez, Sergio

    2017-06-15

    The emergence of antibiotic-resistant pathogen microorganisms is problematic in the context of the current spectrum of available medication. The poor specificity and the high toxicity of some available molecules have made imperative the search for new strategies to improve the specificity and to pursue the discovery of novel compounds with increased bioactivity. Using living cells as platforms, synthetic biology has counteracted this problem by offering novel pathways to create synthetic systems with improved and desired functions. Among many other biotechnological approaches, the advances in synthetic biology have made it possible to design and construct novel biological systems in order to look for new drugs with increased bioactivity. Advancements have also been made in the redesigning of RNA and DNA molecules in order to engineer antibiotic clusters for antibiotic overexpression. As for the production of these antibacterial compounds, yeasts and filamentous fungi as well as gene therapy are utilized to enhance protein solubility. Specific delivery is achieved by creating chimeras using plant genes into bacterial hosts. Some of these synthetic systems are currently in clinical trials, proving the proficiency of synthetic biology in terms of both pharmacological activities as well as an increase in the biosafety of treatments. It is possible that we may just be seeing the tip of the iceberg, and synthetic biology applications will overpass expectations beyond our present knowledge. Copyright © 2017. Published by Elsevier Inc.

  17. Synthetic biology and the technicity of biofuels.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mackenzie, Adrian

    2013-06-01

    The principal existing real-world application of synthetic biology is biofuels. Several 'next generation biofuel' companies-Synthetic Genomics, Amyris and Joule Unlimited Technologies-claim to be using synthetic biology to make biofuels. The irony of this is that highly advanced science and engineering serves the very mundane and familiar realm of transport. Despite their rather prosaic nature, biofuels could offer an interesting way to highlight the novelty of synthetic biology from several angles at once. Drawing on the French philosopher of technology and biology Gilbert Simondon, we can understand biofuels as technical objects whose genesis involves processes of concretisation that negotiate between heterogeneous geographical, biological, technical, scientific and commercial realities. Simondon's notion of technicity, the degree of concretisation of a technical object, usefully conceptualises this relationality. Viewed in terms of technicity, we might understand better how technical entities, elements, and ensembles are coming into being in the name of synthetic biology. The broader argument here is that when we seek to identify the newness of disciplines, their newness might be less epistemic and more logistic. Crown Copyright © 2013. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  18. News: Synthetic biology leading to specialty chemicals

    Science.gov (United States)

    Synthetic biology can combine the disciplines of biology, engineering, and chemistry productively to form molecules of great scientific and commercial value. Recent advances in the new field are explored for their connection to new tools that have been used to elucidate productio...

  19. Synthetic biology between technoscience and thing knowledge.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gelfert, Axel

    2013-06-01

    Synthetic biology presents a challenge to traditional accounts of biology: Whereas traditional biology emphasizes the evolvability, variability, and heterogeneity of living organisms, synthetic biology envisions a future of homogeneous, humanly engineered biological systems that may be combined in modular fashion. The present paper approaches this challenge from the perspective of the epistemology of technoscience. In particular, it is argued that synthetic-biological artifacts lend themselves to an analysis in terms of what has been called 'thing knowledge'. As such, they should neither be regarded as the simple outcome of applying theoretical knowledge and engineering principles to specific technological problems, nor should they be treated as mere sources of new evidence in the general pursuit of scientific understanding. Instead, synthetic-biological artifacts should be viewed as partly autonomous research objects which, qua their material-biological constitution, embody knowledge about the natural world-knowledge that, in turn, can be accessed via continuous experimental interrogation. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  20. Building biological foundries for next-generation synthetic biology.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chao, Ran; Yuan, YongBo; Zhao, HuiMin

    2015-07-01

    Synthetic biology is an interdisciplinary field that takes top-down approaches to understand and engineer biological systems through design-build-test cycles. A number of advances in this relatively young field have greatly accelerated such engineering cycles. Specifically, various innovative tools were developed for in silico biosystems design, DNA de novo synthesis and assembly, construct verification, as well as metabolite analysis, which have laid a solid foundation for building biological foundries for rapid prototyping of improved or novel biosystems. This review summarizes the state-of-the-art technologies for synthetic biology and discusses the challenges to establish such biological foundries.

  1. Synthetic biology and biosecurity: challenging the "myths".

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jefferson, Catherine; Lentzos, Filippa; Marris, Claire

    2014-01-01

    Synthetic biology, a field that aims to "make biology easier to engineer," is routinely described as leading to an increase in the "dual-use" threat, i.e., the potential for the same scientific research to be "used" for peaceful purposes or "misused" for warfare or terrorism. Fears have been expressed that the "de-skilling" of biology, combined with online access to the genomic DNA sequences of pathogenic organisms and the reduction in price for DNA synthesis, will make biology increasingly accessible to people operating outside well-equipped professional research laboratories, including people with malevolent intentions. The emergence of do-it-yourself (DIY) biology communities and of the student iGEM competition has come to epitomize this supposed trend toward greater ease of access and the associated potential threat from rogue actors. In this article, we identify five "myths" that permeate discussions about synthetic biology and biosecurity, and argue that they embody misleading assumptions about both synthetic biology and bioterrorism. We demonstrate how these myths are challenged by more realistic understandings of the scientific research currently being conducted in both professional and DIY laboratories, and by an analysis of historical cases of bioterrorism. We show that the importance of tacit knowledge is commonly overlooked in the dominant narrative: the focus is on access to biological materials and digital information, rather than on human practices and institutional dimensions. As a result, public discourse on synthetic biology and biosecurity tends to portray speculative scenarios about the future as realities in the present or the near future, when this is not warranted. We suggest that these "myths" play an important role in defining synthetic biology as a "promissory" field of research and as an "emerging technology" in need of governance.

  2. WISB: Warwick Integrative Synthetic Biology Centre.

    Science.gov (United States)

    McCarthy, John

    2016-06-15

    Synthetic biology promises to create high-impact solutions to challenges in the areas of biotechnology, human/animal health, the environment, energy, materials and food security. Equally, synthetic biologists create tools and strategies that have the potential to help us answer important fundamental questions in biology. Warwick Integrative Synthetic Biology (WISB) pursues both of these mutually complementary 'build to apply' and 'build to understand' approaches. This is reflected in our research structure, in which a core theme on predictive biosystems engineering develops underpinning understanding as well as next-generation experimental/theoretical tools, and these are then incorporated into three applied themes in which we engineer biosynthetic pathways, microbial communities and microbial effector systems in plants. WISB takes a comprehensive approach to training, education and outreach. For example, WISB is a partner in the EPSRC/BBSRC-funded U.K. Doctoral Training Centre in synthetic biology, we have developed a new undergraduate module in the subject, and we have established five WISB Research Career Development Fellowships to support young group leaders. Research in Ethical, Legal and Societal Aspects (ELSA) of synthetic biology is embedded in our centre activities. WISB has been highly proactive in building an international research and training network that includes partners in Barcelona, Boston, Copenhagen, Madrid, Marburg, São Paulo, Tartu and Valencia. © 2016 The Author(s).

  3. A Critical Perspective on Synthetic Biology

    OpenAIRE

    Michel Morange

    2009-01-01

    Synthetic biology emerged around 2000 as a new biological discipline. It shares with systems biology the same modular vision of organisms, but is more concerned with applications than with a better understanding of the functioning of organisms. A herald of this new discipline is Craig Venter who aims to create an artificial microorganism with the minimal genome compatible with life and to implement into it different 'functional modules' to generate new micro-organisms adapted to specific task...

  4. [Applications of synthetic biology in materials science].

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zhao, Tianxin; Zhong, Chao

    2017-03-25

    Materials are the basis for human being survival and social development. To keep abreast with the increasing needs from all aspects of human society, there are huge needs in the development of advanced materials as well as high-efficiency but low-cost manufacturing strategies that are both sustainable and tunable. Synthetic biology, a new engineering principle taking gene regulation and engineering design as the core, greatly promotes the development of life sciences. This discipline has also contributed to the development of material sciences and will continuously bring new ideas to future new material design. In this paper, we review recent advances in applications of synthetic biology in material sciences, with the focus on how synthetic biology could enable synthesis of new polymeric biomaterials and inorganic materials, phage display and directed evolution of proteins relevant to materials development, living functional materials, engineered bacteria-regulated artificial photosynthesis system as well as applications of gene circuits for material sciences.

  5. Tunable promoters in synthetic and systems biology

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Dehli, Tore; Solem, Christian; Jensen, Peter Ruhdal

    2012-01-01

    in synthetic biology. A number of tools exist to manipulate the steps in between gene sequence and functional protein in living cells, but out of these the most straight-forward approach is to alter the gene expression level by manipulating the promoter sequence. Some of the promoter tuning tools available......Synthetic and systems biologists need standardized, modular and orthogonal tools yielding predictable functions in vivo. In systems biology such tools are needed to quantitatively analyze the behavior of biological systems while the efficient engineering of artificial gene networks is central...... for accomplishing such altered gene expression levels are discussed here along with examples of their use, and ideas for new tools are described. The road ahead looks very promising for synthetic and systems biologists as tools to achieve just about anything in terms of tuning and timing multiple gene expression...

  6. CSBB: synthetic biology research at Newcastle University.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Goñi-Moreno, Angel; Wipat, Anil; Krasnogor, Natalio

    2017-06-15

    The Centre for Synthetic Biology and the Bioeconomy (CSBB) brings together a far-reaching multidisciplinary community across all Newcastle University's faculties - Medical Sciences, Science, Agriculture and Engineering, and Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences. The CSBB focuses on many different areas of Synthetic Biology, including bioprocessing, computational design and in vivo computation, as well as improving understanding of basic molecular machinery. Such breadth is supported by major national and international research funding, a range of industrial partners in the North East of England and beyond, as well as a large number of doctoral and post-doctoral researchers. The CSBB trains the next generation of scientists through a 1-year MSc in Synthetic Biology. © 2017 The Author(s).

  7. Synthetic definition of biological significance

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Buffington, J.D.

    1975-01-01

    The central theme of the workshop is recounted and the views of the authors are summarized. Areas of broad agreement or disagreement, unifying principles, and research needs are identified. Authors' views are consolidated into concepts that have practical utility for the scientist making impact assessments. The need for decision-makers and managers to be cognizant of the recommendations made herein is discussed. Finally, bringing together the diverse views of the workshop participants, a conceptual definition of biological significance is synthesized

  8. Synthetic biology approaches to engineer T cells.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wu, Chia-Yung; Rupp, Levi J; Roybal, Kole T; Lim, Wendell A

    2015-08-01

    There is rapidly growing interest in learning how to engineer immune cells, such as T lymphocytes, because of the potential of these engineered cells to be used for therapeutic applications such as the recognition and killing of cancer cells. At the same time, our knowhow and capability to logically engineer cellular behavior is growing rapidly with the development of synthetic biology. Here we describe how synthetic biology approaches are being used to rationally alter the behavior of T cells to optimize them for therapeutic functions. We also describe future developments that will be important in order to construct safe and precise T cell therapeutics. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  9. Synthetic biology of microbes synthesizing polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Guo-Qiang Chen

    2016-12-01

    Full Text Available Microbial polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA have been produced as bioplastics for various purposes. Under the support of China National Basic Research 973 Project, we developed synthetic biology methods to diversify the PHA structures into homo-, random, block polymers with improved properties to better meet various application requirements. At the same time, various pathways were assembled to produce various PHA from glucose as a simple carbon source. At the end, Halomonas bacteria were reconstructed to produce PHA in changing morphology for low cost production under unsterile and continuous conditions. The synthetic biology will advance the PHA into a bio- and material industry.

  10. Synthetic Biology: Applications in the Food Sector.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tyagi, Ashish; Kumar, Ashwani; Aparna, S V; Mallappa, Rashmi H; Grover, Sunita; Batish, Virender Kumar

    2016-08-17

    Synthetic biology also termed as "genomic alchemy" represents a powerful area of science that is based on the convergence of biological sciences with systems engineering. It has been fittingly described as "moving from reading the genetic code to writing it" as it focuses on building, modeling, designing and fabricating novel biological systems using customized gene components that result in artificially created genetic circuitry. The scientifically compelling idea of the technological manipulation of life has been advocated since long time. Realization of this idea has gained momentum with development of high speed automation and the falling cost of gene sequencing and synthesis following the completion of the human genome project. Synthetic biology will certainly be instrumental in shaping the development of varying areas ranging from biomedicine, biopharmaceuticals, chemical production, food and dairy quality monitoring, packaging, and storage of food and dairy products, bioremediation and bioenergy production, etc. However, potential dangers of using synthetic life forms have to be acknowledged and adoption of policies by the scientific community to ensure safe practice while making important advancements in the ever expanding field of synthetic biology is to be fully supported and implemented.

  11. Prospects for applying synthetic biology to toxicology

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Behrendorff, James Bruce Yarnton H; Gillam, Elizabeth M.J.

    2017-01-01

    The 30 years since the inception of Chemical Research in Toxicology, game-changing advances in chemical and molecular biology, the fundamental disciplines underpinning molecular toxicology, have been made. While these have led to important advances in the study of mechanisms by which chemicals...... damage cells and systems, there has been less focus on applying these advances to prediction, detection, and mitigation of toxicity. Over the last ∼15 years, synthetic biology, the repurposing of biological "parts" in systems engineered for useful ends, has been explored in other areas of the biomedical...... and life sciences, for such applications as detecting metabolites, drug discovery and delivery, investigating disease mechanisms, improving medical treatment, and producing useful chemicals. These examples provide models for the application of synthetic biology to toxicology, which, for the most part, has...

  12. Synthetic Biology to Engineer Bacteriophage Genomes.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rita Costa, Ana; Milho, Catarina; Azeredo, Joana; Pires, Diana Priscila

    2018-01-01

    Recent advances in the synthetic biology field have enabled the development of new molecular biology techniques used to build specialized bacteriophages with new functionalities. Bacteriophages have been engineered towards a wide range of applications including pathogen control and detection, targeted drug delivery, or even assembly of new materials.In this chapter, two strategies that have been successfully used to genetically engineer bacteriophage genomes are addressed: a yeast-based platform and bacteriophage recombineering of electroporated DNA.

  13. Synthetic biology advances for pharmaceutical production

    OpenAIRE

    Breitling, Rainer; Takano, Eriko

    2015-01-01

    Synthetic biology enables a new generation of microbial engineering for the biotechnological production of pharmaceuticals and other high-value chemicals. This review presents an overview of recent advances in the field, describing new computational and experimental tools for the discovery, optimization and production of bioactive molecules, and outlining progress towards the application of these tools to pharmaceutical production systems.

  14. Synthetic biology advances for pharmaceutical production

    Science.gov (United States)

    Breitling, Rainer; Takano, Eriko

    2015-01-01

    Synthetic biology enables a new generation of microbial engineering for the biotechnological production of pharmaceuticals and other high-value chemicals. This review presents an overview of recent advances in the field, describing new computational and experimental tools for the discovery, optimization and production of bioactive molecules, and outlining progress towards the application of these tools to pharmaceutical production systems. PMID:25744872

  15. Integrating biological redesign: where synthetic biology came from and where it needs to go.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Way, Jeffrey C; Collins, James J; Keasling, Jay D; Silver, Pamela A

    2014-03-27

    Synthetic biology seeks to extend approaches from engineering and computation to redesign of biology, with goals such as generating new chemicals, improving human health, and addressing environmental issues. Early on, several guiding principles of synthetic biology were articulated, including design according to specification, separation of design from fabrication, use of standardized biological parts and organisms, and abstraction. We review the utility of these principles over the past decade in light of the field's accomplishments in building complex systems based on microbial transcription and metabolism and describe the progress in mammalian cell engineering. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  16. Agent-based modelling in synthetic biology.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gorochowski, Thomas E

    2016-11-30

    Biological systems exhibit complex behaviours that emerge at many different levels of organization. These span the regulation of gene expression within single cells to the use of quorum sensing to co-ordinate the action of entire bacterial colonies. Synthetic biology aims to make the engineering of biology easier, offering an opportunity to control natural systems and develop new synthetic systems with useful prescribed behaviours. However, in many cases, it is not understood how individual cells should be programmed to ensure the emergence of a required collective behaviour. Agent-based modelling aims to tackle this problem, offering a framework in which to simulate such systems and explore cellular design rules. In this article, I review the use of agent-based models in synthetic biology, outline the available computational tools, and provide details on recently engineered biological systems that are amenable to this approach. I further highlight the challenges facing this methodology and some of the potential future directions. © 2016 The Author(s).

  17. Preparing Synthetic Biology for the World

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Gerd H.G. Moe-Behrens

    2013-01-01

    Full Text Available Synthetic Biology promises low-cost, exponentially scalable products and global health solutions in the form of self-replicating organisms, or living devices. As these promises are realized, proof-of-concept systems will gradually migrate from tightly regulated laboratory or industrial environments into private spaces as, for instance, probiotic health products, food, and even do-it-yourself bioengineered systems. What additional steps, if any, should be taken before releasing engineered self-replicating organisms into a broader user space? In this review, we explain how studies of genetically modified organisms lay groundwork for the future landscape of biosafety. Early in the design process, biological engineers are anticipating potential hazards and developing innovative tools to mitigate risk. Here, we survey lessons learned, ongoing efforts to engineer intrinsic biocontainment, and how different stakeholders in synthetic biology can act to accomplish best practices for biosafety.

  18. Synthetic biology expands chemical control of microorganisms.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ford, Tyler J; Silver, Pamela A

    2015-10-01

    The tools of synthetic biology allow researchers to change the ways engineered organisms respond to chemical stimuli. Decades of basic biology research and new efforts in computational protein and RNA design have led to the development of small molecule sensors that can be used to alter organism function. These new functions leap beyond the natural propensities of the engineered organisms. They can range from simple fluorescence or growth reporting to pathogen killing, and can involve metabolic coordination among multiple cells or organisms. Herein, we discuss how synthetic biology alters microorganisms' responses to chemical stimuli resulting in the development of microbes as toxicity sensors, disease treatments, and chemical factories. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  19. Synthetic biology and biosecurity: challenging the "myths".

    OpenAIRE

    Jefferson, C; Lentzos, F; Marris, C

    2014-01-01

    15.10.14 KB. Ok to add published version to spiral, OA paper under cc by Synthetic biology, a field that aims to make biology easier to engineer, is routinely described as leading to an increase in the dual-use threat, i.e., the potential for the same scientific research to be used for peaceful purposes or misused for warfare or terrorism. Fears have been expressed that the de-skilling of biology, combined with online access to the genomic DNA sequences of pathogenic organisms an...

  20. Synthetic biology: Novel approaches for microbiology.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Padilla-Vaca, Felipe; Anaya-Velázquez, Fernando; Franco, Bernardo

    2015-06-01

    In the past twenty years, molecular genetics has created powerful tools for genetic manipulation of living organisms. Whole genome sequencing has provided necessary information to assess knowledge on gene function and protein networks. In addition, new tools permit to modify organisms to perform desired tasks. Gene function analysis is speed up by novel approaches that couple both high throughput data generation and mining. Synthetic biology is an emerging field that uses tools for generating novel gene networks, whole genome synthesis and engineering. New applications in biotechnological, pharmaceutical and biomedical research are envisioned for synthetic biology. In recent years these new strategies have opened up the possibilities to study gene and genome editing, creation of novel tools for functional studies in virus, parasites and pathogenic bacteria. There is also the possibility to re-design organisms to generate vaccine subunits or produce new pharmaceuticals to combat multi-drug resistant pathogens. In this review we provide our opinion on the applicability of synthetic biology strategies for functional studies of pathogenic organisms and some applications such as genome editing and gene network studies to further comprehend virulence factors and determinants in pathogenic organisms. We also discuss what we consider important ethical issues for this field of molecular biology, especially for potential misuse of the new technologies. Copyright© by the Spanish Society for Microbiology and Institute for Catalan Studies.

  1. [Progress in synthetic biology of pinocembrin].

    Science.gov (United States)

    Guo, Lei; Kong, Jianqiang

    2015-04-01

    Pinocembrin, belonging to flavanons, was isolated from various plants. Pinocembrin has a variety of pharmacological activities, such as neuroprotective effect, antimicrobial activity, and antioxidant efficacy. Pinocembrin was approved as class I drugs to its phase II clinical trial by CFDA in 2009, mainly used for the treatment of ischemic stroke. As a promising compound, the manufacturing technologies of pinocembrin, including chemical synthesis, extraction from plant and synthetic biology, have attracted many attentions. Compared with the first two technologies, synthetic biology has many advantages, such as environment-friendly and low-cost. Construction of biosynthetic pathway in microorganism offers promising results for large scale pinocembrin production by fermentation after taking lots of effective strategies. This article reviews some of recent strategies in microorganisms to improve the yield, with focus on the selection of appropriate the key enzyme sources, the supply of precursors and cofactors by microorganisms, the choice of substance and the level of the key enzyme expression.

  2. Consequentialism and the Synthetic Biology Problem.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Heavey, Patrick

    2017-04-01

    This article analyzes the ethics of synthetic biology (synbio) from a consequentialist perspective, examining potential effects on food and agriculture, and on medicine, fuel, and the advancement of science. The issues of biosafety and biosecurity are also examined. A consequentialist analysis offers an essential road map to policymakers and regulators as to how to deal with synbio. Additionally, the article discusses the limitations of consequentialism as a tool for analysing synbioethics. Is it possible to predict, with any degree of plausibility, what the consequences of synthetic biology will be in 50 years, or in 100, or in 500? Synbio may take humanity to a place of radical departure from what is known or knowable.

  3. Biologic and synthetic skin substitutes: An overview.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Halim, Ahmad Sukari; Khoo, Teng Lye; Mohd Yussof, Shah Jumaat

    2010-09-01

    The current trend of burn wound care has shifted to more holistic approach of improvement in the long-term form and function of the healed burn wounds and quality of life. This has demanded the emergence of various skin substitutes in the management of acute burn injury as well as post burn reconstructions. Skin substitutes have important roles in the treatment of deep dermal and full thickness wounds of various aetiologies. At present, there is no ideal substitute in the market. Skin substitutes can be divided into two main classes, namely, biological and synthetic substitutes. The biological skin substitutes have a more intact extracellular matrix structure, while the synthetic skin substitutes can be synthesised on demand and can be modulated for specific purposes. Each class has its advantages and disadvantages. The biological skin substitutes may allow the construction of a more natural new dermis and allow excellent re-epithelialisation characteristics due to the presence of a basement membrane. Synthetic skin substitutes demonstrate the advantages of increase control over scaffold composition. The ultimate goal is to achieve an ideal skin substitute that provides an effective and scar-free wound healing.

  4. Biologic and synthetic skin substitutes: An overview

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Halim Ahmad

    2010-10-01

    Full Text Available The current trend of burn wound care has shifted to more holistic approach of improvement in the long-term form and function of the healed burn wounds and quality of life. This has demanded the emergence of various skin substitutes in the management of acute burn injury as well as post burn reconstructions. Skin substitutes have important roles in the treatment of deep dermal and full thickness wounds of various aetiologies. At present, there is no ideal substitute in the market. Skin substitutes can be divided into two main classes, namely, biological and synthetic substitutes. The biological skin substitutes have a more intact extracellular matrix structure, while the synthetic skin substitutes can be synthesised on demand and can be modulated for specific purposes. Each class has its advantages and disadvantages. The biological skin substitutes may allow the construction of a more natural new dermis and allow excellent re-epithelialisation characteristics due to the presence of a basement membrane. Synthetic skin substitutes demonstrate the advantages of increase control over scaffold composition. The ultimate goal is to achieve an ideal skin substitute that provides an effective and scar-free wound healing.

  5. Synthetic biology approaches to fluorinated polyketides.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Thuronyi, Benjamin W; Chang, Michelle C Y

    2015-03-17

    The catalytic diversity of living systems offers a broad range of opportunities for developing new methods to produce small molecule targets such as fuels, materials, and pharmaceuticals. In addition to providing cost-effective and renewable methods for large-scale commercial processes, the exploration of the unusual chemical phenotypes found in living organisms can also enable the expansion of chemical space for discovery of novel function by combining orthogonal attributes from both synthetic and biological chemistry. In this context, we have focused on the development of new fluorine chemistry using synthetic biology approaches. While fluorine has become an important feature in compounds of synthetic origin, the scope of biological fluorine chemistry in living systems is limited, with fewer than 20 organofluorine natural products identified to date. In order to expand the diversity of biosynthetically accessible organofluorines, we have begun to develop methods for the site-selective introduction of fluorine into complex natural products by engineering biosynthetic machinery to incorporate fluorinated building blocks. To gain insight into how both enzyme active sites and metabolic pathways can be evolved to manage and select for fluorinated compounds, we have studied one of the only characterized natural hosts for organofluorine biosynthesis, the soil microbe Streptomyces cattleya. This information provides a template for designing engineered organofluorine enzymes, pathways, and hosts and has allowed us to initiate construction of enzymatic and cellular pathways for the production of fluorinated polyketides.

  6. News: Synthetic biology leading to specialty chemicals ...

    Science.gov (United States)

    Synthetic biology can combine the disciplines of biology, engineering, and chemistry productively to form molecules of great scientific and commercial value. Recent advances in the new field are explored for their connection to new tools that have been used to elucidate production pathways to a wide variety of chemicals generated by microorganisms. The selection and enhancement of microbiological strains through the practice of strain engineering enables targets of design, construction, and optimization. This news column aspires to cover recent literature relating to the development and understanding of clean technology.

  7. Programming Morphogenesis through Systems and Synthetic Biology.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Velazquez, Jeremy J; Su, Emily; Cahan, Patrick; Ebrahimkhani, Mo R

    2018-04-01

    Mammalian tissue development is an intricate, spatiotemporal process of self-organization that emerges from gene regulatory networks of differentiating stem cells. A major goal in stem cell biology is to gain a sufficient understanding of gene regulatory networks and cell-cell interactions to enable the reliable and robust engineering of morphogenesis. Here, we review advances in synthetic biology, single cell genomics, and multiscale modeling, which, when synthesized, provide a framework to achieve the ambitious goal of programming morphogenesis in complex tissues and organoids. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  8. Synthetic biology for pharmaceutical drug discovery

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Trosset JY

    2015-12-01

    Full Text Available Jean-Yves Trosset,1 Pablo Carbonell2,3 1Bioinformation Research Laboratory, Sup’Biotech, Villejuif, France; 2Faculty of Life Sciences, SYNBIOCHEM Centre, Manchester Institute of Biotechnology, University of Manchester, Manchester, UK; 3Department of Experimental and Health Sciences (DCEXS, Research Programme on Biomedical Informatics (GRIB, Hospital del Mar Medical Research Institute (IMIM, Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF, Barcelona, Spain Abstract: Synthetic biology (SB is an emerging discipline, which is slowly reorienting the field of drug discovery. For thousands of years, living organisms such as plants were the major source of human medicines. The difficulty in resynthesizing natural products, however, often turned pharmaceutical industries away from this rich source for human medicine. More recently, progress on transformation through genetic manipulation of biosynthetic units in microorganisms has opened the possibility of in-depth exploration of the large chemical space of natural products derivatives. Success of SB in drug synthesis culminated with the bioproduction of artemisinin by microorganisms, a tour de force in protein and metabolic engineering. Today, synthetic cells are not only used as biofactories but also used as cell-based screening platforms for both target-based and phenotypic-based approaches. Engineered genetic circuits in synthetic cells are also used to decipher disease mechanisms or drug mechanism of actions and to study cell–cell communication within bacteria consortia. This review presents latest developments of SB in the field of drug discovery, including some challenging issues such as drug resistance and drug toxicity. Keywords: metabolic engineering, plant synthetic biology, natural products, synthetic quorum sensing, drug resistance

  9. Plant synthetic biology for molecular engineering of signalling and development.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nemhauser, Jennifer L; Torii, Keiko U

    2016-03-02

    Molecular genetic studies of model plants in the past few decades have identified many key genes and pathways controlling development, metabolism and environmental responses. Recent technological and informatics advances have led to unprecedented volumes of data that may uncover underlying principles of plants as biological systems. The newly emerged discipline of synthetic biology and related molecular engineering approaches is built on this strong foundation. Today, plant regulatory pathways can be reconstituted in heterologous organisms to identify and manipulate parameters influencing signalling outputs. Moreover, regulatory circuits that include receptors, ligands, signal transduction components, epigenetic machinery and molecular motors can be engineered and introduced into plants to create novel traits in a predictive manner. Here, we provide a brief history of plant synthetic biology and significant recent examples of this approach, focusing on how knowledge generated by the reference plant Arabidopsis thaliana has contributed to the rapid rise of this new discipline, and discuss potential future directions.

  10. 75 FR 52752 - Request for Comments on Synthetic Biology

    Science.gov (United States)

    2010-08-27

    ... DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Request for Comments on Synthetic Biology AGENCY... Bioethical Issues is requesting public comment on the emerging science of synthetic biology, including its... Commission has begun an inquiry into the emerging science of synthetic biology. The President asked the...

  11. Micro/nanofabricated environments for synthetic biology.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Collier, C Patrick; Simpson, Michael L

    2011-08-01

    A better understanding of how confinement, crowding and reduced dimensionality modulate reactivity and reaction dynamics will aid in the rational and systematic discovery of functionality in complex biological systems. Artificial microfabricated and nanofabricated structures have helped elucidate the effects of nanoscale spatial confinement and segregation on biological behavior, particularly when integrated with microfluidics, through precise control in both space and time of diffusible signals and binding interactions. Examples of nanostructured interfaces for synthetic biology include the development of cell-like compartments for encapsulating biochemical reactions, nanostructured environments for fundamental studies of diffusion, molecular transport and biochemical reaction kinetics, and regulation of biomolecular interactions as functions of microfabricated and nanofabricated topological constraints. Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  12. [Synthetic biology and rearrangements of microbial genetic material].

    Science.gov (United States)

    Liang, Quan-Feng; Wang, Qian; Qi, Qing-Sheng

    2011-10-01

    As an emerging discipline, synthetic biology has shown great scientific values and application prospects. Although there have been many reviews of various aspects on synthetic biology over the last years, this article, for the first time, attempted to discuss the relationship and difference between microbial genetics and synthetic biology. We summarized the recent development of synthetic biology in rearranging microbial genetic materials, including synthesis, design and reduction of genetic materials, standardization of genetic parts and modularization of genetic circuits. The relationship between synthetic biology and microbial genetic engineering was also discussed in the paper.

  13. Synthetic biology devices for in vitro and in vivo diagnostics.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Slomovic, Shimyn; Pardee, Keith; Collins, James J

    2015-11-24

    There is a growing need to enhance our capabilities in medical and environmental diagnostics. Synthetic biologists have begun to focus their biomolecular engineering approaches toward this goal, offering promising results that could lead to the development of new classes of inexpensive, rapidly deployable diagnostics. Many conventional diagnostics rely on antibody-based platforms that, although exquisitely sensitive, are slow and costly to generate and cannot readily confront rapidly emerging pathogens or be applied to orphan diseases. Synthetic biology, with its rational and short design-to-production cycles, has the potential to overcome many of these limitations. Synthetic biology devices, such as engineered gene circuits, bring new capabilities to molecular diagnostics, expanding the molecular detection palette, creating dynamic sensors, and untethering reactions from laboratory equipment. The field is also beginning to move toward in vivo diagnostics, which could provide near real-time surveillance of multiple pathological conditions. Here, we describe current efforts in synthetic biology, focusing on the translation of promising technologies into pragmatic diagnostic tools and platforms.

  14. Pareto Optimal Design for Synthetic Biology.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Patanè, Andrea; Santoro, Andrea; Costanza, Jole; Carapezza, Giovanni; Nicosia, Giuseppe

    2015-08-01

    Recent advances in synthetic biology call for robust, flexible and efficient in silico optimization methodologies. We present a Pareto design approach for the bi-level optimization problem associated to the overproduction of specific metabolites in Escherichia coli. Our method efficiently explores the high dimensional genetic manipulation space, finding a number of trade-offs between synthetic and biological objectives, hence furnishing a deeper biological insight to the addressed problem and important results for industrial purposes. We demonstrate the computational capabilities of our Pareto-oriented approach comparing it with state-of-the-art heuristics in the overproduction problems of i) 1,4-butanediol, ii) myristoyl-CoA, i ii) malonyl-CoA , iv) acetate and v) succinate. We show that our algorithms are able to gracefully adapt and scale to more complex models and more biologically-relevant simulations of the genetic manipulations allowed. The Results obtained for 1,4-butanediol overproduction significantly outperform results previously obtained, in terms of 1,4-butanediol to biomass formation ratio and knock-out costs. In particular overproduction percentage is of +662.7%, from 1.425 mmolh⁻¹gDW⁻¹ (wild type) to 10.869 mmolh⁻¹gDW⁻¹, with a knockout cost of 6. Whereas, Pareto-optimal designs we have found in fatty acid optimizations strictly dominate the ones obtained by the other methodologies, e.g., biomass and myristoyl-CoA exportation improvement of +21.43% (0.17 h⁻¹) and +5.19% (1.62 mmolh⁻¹gDW⁻¹), respectively. Furthermore CPU time required by our heuristic approach is more than halved. Finally we implement pathway oriented sensitivity analysis, epsilon-dominance analysis and robustness analysis to enhance our biological understanding of the problem and to improve the optimization algorithm capabilities.

  15. Mammalian Synthetic Biology: Time for Big MACs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Martella, Andrea; Pollard, Steven M; Dai, Junbiao; Cai, Yizhi

    2016-10-21

    The enabling technologies of synthetic biology are opening up new opportunities for engineering and enhancement of mammalian cells. This will stimulate diverse applications in many life science sectors such as regenerative medicine, development of biosensing cell lines, therapeutic protein production, and generation of new synthetic genetic regulatory circuits. Harnessing the full potential of these new engineering-based approaches requires the design and assembly of large DNA constructs-potentially up to chromosome scale-and the effective delivery of these large DNA payloads to the host cell. Random integration of large transgenes, encoding therapeutic proteins or genetic circuits into host chromosomes, has several drawbacks such as risks of insertional mutagenesis, lack of control over transgene copy-number and position-specific effects; these can compromise the intended functioning of genetic circuits. The development of a system orthogonal to the endogenous genome is therefore beneficial. Mammalian artificial chromosomes (MACs) are functional, add-on chromosomal elements, which behave as normal chromosomes-being replicating and portioned to daughter cells at each cell division. They are deployed as useful gene expression vectors as they remain independent from the host genome. MACs are maintained as a single-copy and can accommodate multiple gene expression cassettes of, in theory, unlimited DNA size (MACs up to 10 megabases have been constructed). MACs therefore enabled control over ectopic gene expression and represent an excellent platform to rapidly prototype and characterize novel synthetic gene circuits without recourse to engineering the host genome. This review describes the obstacles synthetic biologists face when working with mammalian systems and how the development of improved MACs can overcome these-particularly given the spectacular advances in DNA synthesis and assembly that are fuelling this research area.

  16. Mapping the Emergence of Synthetic Biology.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Benjamin Raimbault

    Full Text Available In this paper, we apply an original scientometric analyses to a corpus comprising synthetic biology (SynBio publications in Thomson Reuters Web of Science to characterize the emergence of this new scientific field. Three results were drawn from this empirical investigation. First, despite the exponential growth of publications, the study of population level statistics (newcomers proportion, collaboration network structure shows that SynBio has entered a stabilization process since 2010. Second, the mapping of textual and citational networks shows that SynBio is characterized by high heterogeneity and four different approaches: the central approach, where biobrick engineering is the most widespread; genome engineering; protocell creation; and metabolic engineering. We suggest that synthetic biology acts as an umbrella term allowing for the mobilization of resources, and also serves to relate scientific content and promises of applications. Third, we observed a strong intertwinement between epistemic and socio-economic dynamics. Measuring scientific production and impact and using structural analysis data, we identified a core set of mostly American scientists. Biographical analysis shows that these central and influential scientists act as "boundary spanners," meaning that their importance to the field lies not only in their academic contributions, but also in their capacity to interact with other social spaces that are outside the academic sphere.

  17. New Frontiers in Synthetic Biology for Spaceflight

    Science.gov (United States)

    Galazka, Jonathan M.

    2017-01-01

    Exploration of the solar system is constrained by the cost of moving mass off Earth. Producing materials in situ will reduce the mass that must be delivered from earth. CO2 is abundant on Mars and manned spacecraft. On the ISS, NASA reacts excess CO2 with H2 to generate CH4 and H2O using the Sabatier System. The resulting water is recovered into the ISS, but the methane is vented to space. Thus, there is a capability need for systems that convert methane into valuable materials. Methanotrophic bacteria consume methane but these are poor synthetic biology platforms. Thus, there is a knowledge gap in utilizing methane in a robust and flexible synthetic biology platform. The yeast Pichia pastoris is a refined microbial factory that is used widely by industry because it efficiently secretes products. Pichia could produce a variety of useful products in space. Pichia does not consume methane but robustly consumes methanol, which is one enzymatic step removed from methane. Our goal is to engineer Pichia to consume methane thereby creating a powerful methane-consuming microbial factory.

  18. Synthetic biology analysed tools for discussion and evaluation

    CERN Document Server

    2016-01-01

    Synthetic biology is a dynamic, young, ambitious, attractive, and heterogeneous scientific discipline. It is constantly developing and changing, which makes societal evaluation of this emerging new science a challenging task, prone to misunderstandings. Synthetic biology is difficult to capture, and confusion arises not only regarding which part of synthetic biology the discussion is about, but also with respect to the underlying concepts in use. This book offers a useful toolbox to approach this complex and fragmented field. It provides a biological access to the discussion using a 'layer' model that describes the connectivity of synthetic or semisynthetic organisms and cells to the realm of natural organisms derived by evolution. Instead of directly reviewing the field as a whole, firstly our book addresses the characteristic features of synthetic biology that are relevant to the societal discussion. Some of these features apply only to parts of synthetic biology, whereas others are relevant to synthetic bi...

  19. Molecular Imaging in Synthetic Biology, and Synthetic Biology in Molecular Imaging.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gilad, Assaf A; Shapiro, Mikhail G

    2017-06-01

    Biomedical synthetic biology is an emerging field in which cells are engineered at the genetic level to carry out novel functions with relevance to biomedical and industrial applications. This approach promises new treatments, imaging tools, and diagnostics for diseases ranging from gastrointestinal inflammatory syndromes to cancer, diabetes, and neurodegeneration. As these cellular technologies undergo pre-clinical and clinical development, it is becoming essential to monitor their location and function in vivo, necessitating appropriate molecular imaging strategies, and therefore, we have created an interest group within the World Molecular Imaging Society focusing on synthetic biology and reporter gene technologies. Here, we highlight recent advances in biomedical synthetic biology, including bacterial therapy, immunotherapy, and regenerative medicine. We then discuss emerging molecular imaging approaches to facilitate in vivo applications, focusing on reporter genes for noninvasive modalities such as magnetic resonance, ultrasound, photoacoustic imaging, bioluminescence, and radionuclear imaging. Because reporter genes can be incorporated directly into engineered genetic circuits, they are particularly well suited to imaging synthetic biological constructs, and developing them provides opportunities for creative molecular and genetic engineering.

  20. [How to be prudent with synthetic biology. Synthetic Biology and the precautionary principle].

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rodríguez López, Blanca

    2014-01-01

    Synthetic biology is a new discipline that is twofold: firstly it offers the promise to pay benefits that can alleviate some of the ills that plague mankind; On the other hand, like all technologies, holds risks. Given these, the most critical and concerned about the risks, invoke the application of the precautionary principle, common in cases where an activity or new technology creates risks to the environment and/or human health, but far from universally accepted happens to be currently one of the most controversial principles. In this paper the question of the risks and benefits of synthetic biology and the relevance of applying the precautionary principle are analyzed. To do this we proceed as follows. The first part focuses on synthetic biology. At first, this discipline is characterized, with special attention to what is novel compared to the known as "genetic engineering". In the second stage both the benefits and the risks associated with it are discussed. The first part concludes with a review of the efforts currently being made to control or minimize the risks. The second part aims to analyze the precautionary principle and its possible relevance to the case of Synthetic Biology. At first, the different versions and interpretations of the principle and the various criticisms of which has been the subject are reviewed. Finally, after discarding the Precautionary Principle as an useful tool, it is seen as more appropriate some recent proposals to treat technologies that take into account not only risks but also their benefits.

  1. The emerging age of cell-free synthetic biology.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Smith, Mark Thomas; Wilding, Kristen M; Hunt, Jeremy M; Bennett, Anthony M; Bundy, Bradley C

    2014-08-25

    The engineering of and mastery over biological parts has catalyzed the emergence of synthetic biology. This field has grown exponentially in the past decade. As increasingly more applications of synthetic biology are pursued, more challenges are encountered, such as delivering genetic material into cells and optimizing genetic circuits in vivo. An in vitro or cell-free approach to synthetic biology simplifies and avoids many of the pitfalls of in vivo synthetic biology. In this review, we describe some of the innate features that make cell-free systems compelling platforms for synthetic biology and discuss emerging improvements of cell-free technologies. We also select and highlight recent and emerging applications of cell-free synthetic biology. Copyright © 2014 Federation of European Biochemical Societies. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  2. Synthetic biology ethics: a deontological assessment.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Heavey, Patrick

    2013-10-01

    In this article I discuss the ethics of synthetic biology from a broadly deontological perspective, evaluating its morality in terms of the integrity of nature, the dignity of life and the relationship between God and his creation. Most ethical analyses to date have been largely consequentialist in nature; they reveal a dual use dilemma, showing that synbio has potential for great good and great evil, possibly more so than any step humanity has taken before. A deontological analysis may help to resolve this dilemma, by evaluating whether synbio is right or wrong in itself. I also assess whether deontology alone is a sufficient methodological paradigm for the proper evaluation of synbio ethics. © 2013 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  3. Misconceptions of Synthetic Biology: Lessons from an Interdisciplinary Summer School

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Verseux, Cyprien; G Acevedo-Rocha, Carlos; Chizzolini, Fabio

    2016-01-01

    In 2014, an international group of scholars from various fields analysed the "societal dimensions" of synthetic biology in an interdisciplinary summer school. Here, we report and discuss the biologists' observations on the general perception of synthetic biology by non-biologists who took part...... in this event. Most attendees mainly associated synthetic biology with contributions from the best-known public figures of the field, rarely mentioning other scientists. Media extrapolations of those contributions appeared to have created unrealistic expectations and irrelevant fears that were widely...... disconnected from the current research in synthetic biology. Another observation was that when debating developments in synthetic biology, semantics strongly mattered: depending on the terms used to present an application of synthetic biology, attendees reacted in radically different ways. For example, using...

  4. Environmentally Sensitive Fluorescent Sensors Based on Synthetic Peptides

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Laurence Choulier

    2010-03-01

    Full Text Available Biosensors allow the direct detection of molecular analytes, by associating a biological receptor with a transducer able to convert the analyte-receptor recognition event into a measurable signal. We review recent work aimed at developing synthetic fluorescent molecular sensors for a variety of analytes, based on peptidic receptors labeled with environmentally sensitive fluorophores. Fluorescent indicators based on synthetic peptides are highly interesting alternatives to protein-based sensors, since they can be synthesized chemically, are stable, and can be easily modified in a site-specific manner for fluorophore coupling and for immobilization on solid supports.

  5. Synthetic biology: a challenge to mechanical explanations in biology?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Morange, Michel

    2012-01-01

    In their plans to modify organisms, synthetic biologists have contrasted engineering and tinkering. By drawing this contrast between their endeavors and what has happened during the evolution of organisms by natural selection, they underline the novelty of their projects and justify their ambitions. Synthetic biologists are at odds with a long tradition that has considered organisms as "perfect machines." This tradition had already been questioned by Stephen Jay Gould in the 1970s and received a major blow with the comparison made by François Jacob between organisms and the results of "bricolage" (tinkering). These contrasts between engineering and tinkering, synthetic biology and evolution, have no raison d'être. Machines built by humans are increasingly inspired by observations made on organisms. This is not a simple reversal of the previous trend-the mechanical conception of organisms-in which the characteristics of the latter were explained by comparison with human-built machines. Relations between organisms and machines have always been complex and ambiguous.

  6. Synthetic Biology: Engineering Living Systems from Biophysical Principles.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bartley, Bryan A; Kim, Kyung; Medley, J Kyle; Sauro, Herbert M

    2017-03-28

    Synthetic biology was founded as a biophysical discipline that sought explanations for the origins of life from chemical and physical first principles. Modern synthetic biology has been reinvented as an engineering discipline to design new organisms as well as to better understand fundamental biological mechanisms. However, success is still largely limited to the laboratory and transformative applications of synthetic biology are still in their infancy. Here, we review six principles of living systems and how they compare and contrast with engineered systems. We cite specific examples from the synthetic biology literature that illustrate these principles and speculate on their implications for further study. To fully realize the promise of synthetic biology, we must be aware of life's unique properties. Copyright © 2017 Biophysical Society. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  7. Developments in the Tools and Methodologies of Synthetic Biology

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kelwick, Richard; MacDonald, James T.; Webb, Alexander J.; Freemont, Paul

    2014-01-01

    Synthetic biology is principally concerned with the rational design and engineering of biologically based parts, devices, or systems. However, biological systems are generally complex and unpredictable, and are therefore, intrinsically difficult to engineer. In order to address these fundamental challenges, synthetic biology is aiming to unify a “body of knowledge” from several foundational scientific fields, within the context of a set of engineering principles. This shift in perspective is enabling synthetic biologists to address complexity, such that robust biological systems can be designed, assembled, and tested as part of a biological design cycle. The design cycle takes a forward-design approach in which a biological system is specified, modeled, analyzed, assembled, and its functionality tested. At each stage of the design cycle, an expanding repertoire of tools is being developed. In this review, we highlight several of these tools in terms of their applications and benefits to the synthetic biology community. PMID:25505788

  8. Developments in the tools and methodologies of synthetic biology

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Richard eKelwick

    2014-11-01

    Full Text Available Synthetic biology is principally concerned with the rational design and engineering of biologically based parts, devices or systems. However, biological systems are generally complex and unpredictable and are therefore intrinsically difficult to engineer. In order to address these fundamental challenges, synthetic biology is aiming to unify a ‘body of knowledge’ from several foundational scientific fields, within the context of a set of engineering principles. This shift in perspective is enabling synthetic biologists to address complexity, such that robust biological systems can be designed, assembled and tested as part of a biological design cycle. The design cycle takes a forward-design approach in which a biological system is specified, modeled, analyzed, assembled and its functionality tested. At each stage of the design cycle an expanding repertoire of tools is being developed. In this review we highlight several of these tools in terms of their applications and benefits to the synthetic biology community.

  9. Challenges and opportunities in synthetic biology for chemical engineers.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Luo, Yunzi; Lee, Jung-Kul; Zhao, Huimin

    2013-11-15

    Synthetic biology provides numerous great opportunities for chemical engineers in the development of new processes for large-scale production of biofuels, value-added chemicals, and protein therapeutics. However, challenges across all scales abound. In particular, the modularization and standardization of the components in a biological system, so-called biological parts, remain the biggest obstacle in synthetic biology. In this perspective, we will discuss the main challenges and opportunities in the rapidly growing synthetic biology field and the important roles that chemical engineers can play in its advancement.

  10. Challenges and opportunities in synthetic biology for chemical engineers

    Science.gov (United States)

    Luo, Yunzi; Lee, Jung-Kul; Zhao, Huimin

    2012-01-01

    Synthetic biology provides numerous great opportunities for chemical engineers in the development of new processes for large-scale production of biofuels, value-added chemicals, and protein therapeutics. However, challenges across all scales abound. In particular, the modularization and standardization of the components in a biological system, so-called biological parts, remain the biggest obstacle in synthetic biology. In this perspective, we will discuss the main challenges and opportunities in the rapidly growing synthetic biology field and the important roles that chemical engineers can play in its advancement. PMID:24222925

  11. Ethical perception of synthetic biology | Amin | African Journal of ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    Modern biotechnology has moved forward by the introduction of the synthetic biology technique. By using synthetic biology, it is possible to construct mice genes in the laboratory and replace the need for the genes to be split out from the original animal. The purpose of this paper is to examine how the public in the Klang ...

  12. CRISPR and the Rebirth of Synthetic Biology.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Heidari, Raheleh; Shaw, David Martin; Elger, Bernice Simone

    2017-04-01

    Emergence of novel genome engineering technologies such as clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeat (CRISPR) has refocused attention on unresolved ethical complications of synthetic biology. Biosecurity concerns, deontological issues and human right aspects of genome editing have been the subject of in-depth debate; however, a lack of transparent regulatory guidelines, outdated governance codes, inefficient time-consuming clinical trial pathways and frequent misunderstanding of the scientific potential of cutting-edge technologies have created substantial obstacles to translational research in this area. While a precautionary principle should be applied at all stages of genome engineering research, the stigma of germline editing, synthesis of new life forms and unrealistic presentation of current technologies should not arrest the transition of new therapeutic, diagnostic or preventive tools from research to clinic. We provide a brief review on the present regulation of CRISPR and discuss the translational aspect of genome engineering research and patient autonomy with respect to the "right to try" potential novel non-germline gene therapies.

  13. Synthetic and Virtual Environmental Media (SAVEM)

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Booth, F. H. K.; Decker, K. M.; Bath, R. J.; Bottrell, D. W.; Wright, K. L.

    2002-01-01

    The Synthetic and Virtual Environmental Media (SAVEM) Program, developed at the DOE Environmental Measurements Laboratory, responds directly to issues of improved data quality, increased regulatory confidence, analytical laboratory waste minimization, pollution prevention, worker safety/radiation exposure risk reduction, and environmental stewardship. The SAVEM radiochemistry information analysis system uses digitally generated spectra to accurately model gamma-ray emission characteristics of radiological samples. A digital virtual sample can be specified that has the characteristics of any environmental media such as soil, sediment, or vegetation, and which exhibits the spectral characteristics of more than 2,000 gamma-emitting nuclides. The SAVEM system can duplicate the characteristics of 2,361 individual radionuclides with 47,902 gamma lines

  14. From noise to synthetic nucleoli: can synthetic biology achieve new insights?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ciechonska, Marta; Grob, Alice; Isalan, Mark

    2016-04-18

    Synthetic biology aims to re-organise and control biological components to make functional devices. Along the way, the iterative process of designing and testing gene circuits has the potential to yield many insights into the functioning of the underlying chassis of cells. Thus, synthetic biology is converging with disciplines such as systems biology and even classical cell biology, to give a new level of predictability to gene expression, cell metabolism and cellular signalling networks. This review gives an overview of the contributions that synthetic biology has made in understanding gene expression, in terms of cell heterogeneity (noise), the coupling of growth and energy usage to expression, and spatiotemporal considerations. We mainly compare progress in bacterial and mammalian systems, which have some of the most-developed engineering frameworks. Overall, one view of synthetic biology can be neatly summarised as "creating in order to understand."

  15. The Next Generation of Synthetic Biology Chassis: Moving Synthetic Biology from the Laboratory to the Field.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Adams, Bryn L

    2016-12-16

    Escherichia coli (E. coli) has played a pivotal role in the development of genetics and molecular biology as scientific fields. It is therefore not surprising that synthetic biology (SB) was built upon E. coli and continues to dominate the field. However, scientific capabilities have advanced from simple gene mutations to the insertion of rationally designed, complex synthetic circuits and creation of entirely synthetic genomes. The point is rapidly approaching where E. coli is no longer an adequate host for the increasingly sophisticated genetic designs of SB. It is time to develop the next generation of SB chassis; robust organisms that can provide the advanced physiology novel synthetic circuits will require to move SB from the laboratory into fieldable technologies. This can be accomplished by developing chassis-specific genetic toolkits that are as extensive as those for E. coli. However, the holy grail of SB would be the development of a universal toolkit that can be ported into any chassis. This viewpoint article underscores the need for new bacterial chassis, as well as discusses some of the important considerations in their selection. It also highlights a few examples of robust, tractable bacterial species that can meet the demands of tomorrow's state-of-the-art in SB. Significant advances have been made in the first 15 years since this field has emerged. However, the advances over the next 15 years will occur not in laboratory organisms, but in fieldable species where the potential of SB can be fully realized in game changing technology.

  16. [Research progress of mammalian synthetic biology in biomedical field].

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yang, Linfeng; Yin, Jianli; Wang, Meiyan; Ye, Haifeng

    2017-03-25

    Although still in its infant stage, synthetic biology has achieved remarkable development and progress during the past decade. Synthetic biology applies engineering principles to design and construct gene circuits uploaded into living cells or organisms to perform novel or improved functions, and it has been widely used in many fields. In this review, we describe the recent advances of mammalian synthetic biology for the treatment of diseases. We introduce common tools and design principles of synthetic gene circuits, and then we demonstrate open-loop gene circuits induced by different trigger molecules used in disease diagnosis and close-loop gene circuits used for biomedical applications. Finally, we discuss the perspectives and potential challenges of synthetic biology for clinical applications.

  17. 2nd Congress on applied synthetic biology in Europe (Málaga, Spain, November 2013).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vetter, Beatrice V; Pantidos, Nikolaos; Edmundson, Matthew

    2014-05-25

    The second meeting organised by the EFB on the advances of applied synthetic biology in Europe was held in Málaga, Spain in November 2013. The potential for the broad application of synthetic biology was reflected in the five sessions of this meeting: synthetic biology for healthcare applications, tools and technologies for synthetic biology, production of recombinant proteins, synthetic plant biology, and biofuels and other small molecules. Outcomes from the meeting were that synthetic biology offers methods for rapid development of new strains that will result in decreased production costs, sustainable chemical production and new medical applications. Additionally, it also introduced novel ways to produce sustainable energy and biofuels, to find new alternatives for bioremediation and resource recovery, and environmentally friendly foodstuff production. All the above-mentioned advances could enable biotechnology to solve some of the major problems of Society. However, while there are still limitations in terms of lacking tools, standardisation and suitable host organisms, this meeting has laid a foundation providing cutting-edge concepts and techniques to ultimately convert the potential of synthetic biology into practice. Copyright © 2014. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  18. Biosynthesis of therapeutic natural products using synthetic biology.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Awan, Ali R; Shaw, William M; Ellis, Tom

    2016-10-01

    Natural products are a group of bioactive structurally diverse chemicals produced by microorganisms and plants. These molecules and their derivatives have contributed to over a third of the therapeutic drugs produced in the last century. However, over the last few decades traditional drug discovery pipelines from natural products have become far less productive and far more expensive. One recent development with promise to combat this trend is the application of synthetic biology to therapeutic natural product biosynthesis. Synthetic biology is a young discipline with roots in systems biology, genetic engineering, and metabolic engineering. In this review, we discuss the use of synthetic biology to engineer improved yields of existing therapeutic natural products. We further describe the use of synthetic biology to combine and express natural product biosynthetic genes in unprecedented ways, and how this holds promise for opening up completely new avenues for drug discovery and production. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  19. Recent applications of synthetic biology tools for yeast metabolic engineering

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Jensen, Michael Krogh; Keasling, Jay

    2015-01-01

    to engineer microbial chemical factories has steadily decreased, improvement is still needed. Through the development of synthetic biology tools for key microbial hosts, it should be possible to further decrease the development times and improve the reliability of the resulting microorganism. Together...... with continuous decreases in price and improvements in DNA synthesis, assembly and sequencing, synthetic biology tools will rationalize time-consuming strain engineering, improve control of metabolic fluxes, and diversify screening assays for cellular metabolism. This review outlines some recently developed...... synthetic biology tools and their application to improve production of chemicals and fuels in yeast. Finally, we provide a perspective for the challenges that lie ahead....

  20. Robust synthetic biology design: stochastic game theory approach.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chen, Bor-Sen; Chang, Chia-Hung; Lee, Hsiao-Ching

    2009-07-15

    Synthetic biology is to engineer artificial biological systems to investigate natural biological phenomena and for a variety of applications. However, the development of synthetic gene networks is still difficult and most newly created gene networks are non-functioning due to uncertain initial conditions and disturbances of extra-cellular environments on the host cell. At present, how to design a robust synthetic gene network to work properly under these uncertain factors is the most important topic of synthetic biology. A robust regulation design is proposed for a stochastic synthetic gene network to achieve the prescribed steady states under these uncertain factors from the minimax regulation perspective. This minimax regulation design problem can be transformed to an equivalent stochastic game problem. Since it is not easy to solve the robust regulation design problem of synthetic gene networks by non-linear stochastic game method directly, the Takagi-Sugeno (T-S) fuzzy model is proposed to approximate the non-linear synthetic gene network via the linear matrix inequality (LMI) technique through the Robust Control Toolbox in Matlab. Finally, an in silico example is given to illustrate the design procedure and to confirm the efficiency and efficacy of the proposed robust gene design method. http://www.ee.nthu.edu.tw/bschen/SyntheticBioDesign_supplement.pdf.

  1. Misconceptions of Synthetic Biology: Lessons from an Interdisciplinary Summer School

    Science.gov (United States)

    Verseux, Cyprien; Acevedo-Rocha, Carlos G.; Chizzolini, Fabio; Rothschild, Lynn J.

    2016-01-01

    In 2014, an international group of scholars from various fields analysed the "societal dimensions" of synthetic biology in an interdisciplinary summer school. Here, we report and discuss the biologists' observations on the general perception of synthetic biology by non-biologists who took part in this event. Most attendees mainly associated synthetic biology with contributions from the best-known public figures of the field, rarely mentioning other scientists. Media extrapolations of those contributions appeared to have created unrealistic expectations and irrelevant fears that were widely disconnected from the current research in synthetic biology. Another observation was that when debating developments in synthetic biology, semantics strongly mattered: depending on the terms used to present an application of synthetic biology, attendees reacted in radically different ways. For example, using the term "GMOs" (genetically modified organisms) rather than the term "genetic engineering" led to very different reactions. Stimulating debates also happened with participants having unanticipated points of view, for instance biocentrist ethicists who argued that engineered microbes should not be used for human purposes. Another communication challenge emerged from the connotations and inaccuracies surrounding the word "life", which impaired constructive debates, thus leading to misconceptions about the abilities of scientists to engineer or even create living organisms. Finally, it appeared that synthetic biologists tend to overestimate the knowledge of non-biologists, further affecting communication. The motivation and ability of synthetic biologists to communicate their work outside their research field needs to be fostered, notably towards policymakers who need a more accurate and technical understanding of the field to make informed decisions. Interdisciplinary events gathering scholars working in and around synthetic biology are an effective tool in addressing those

  2. A standard-enabled workflow for synthetic biology

    KAUST Repository

    Myers, Chris J.; Beal, Jacob; Gorochowski, Thomas E.; Kuwahara, Hiroyuki; Madsen, Curtis; McLaughlin, James Alastair; Mısırlı, Gö ksel; Nguyen, Tramy; Oberortner, Ernst; Samineni, Meher; Wipat, Anil; Zhang, Michael; Zundel, Zach

    2017-01-01

    A synthetic biology workflow is composed of data repositories that provide information about genetic parts, sequence-level design tools to compose these parts into circuits, visualization tools to depict these designs, genetic design tools to select

  3. Synthetic Biology and the Argument from Continuity with Established Technologies

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Christiansen, Andreas

    2015-01-01

    ) that it ignores the distinction between what reasons we have and what we should do all things considered. I then illustrate the Continuity Argument and its problems in the case where human manipulation of organisms’ genetic makeup is a suggested reason for finding synthetic biology problematic. Finally, I suggest......Defenders of synthetic biology commonly make reference to the fact that established technologies, such as domestication or selective breeding, share some of the features of synthetic biology that critics argue make it ethically problematic. In this chapter, I reconstruct such references...... as instances of a type of argument which I dub the Continuity Argument. Roughly, the Continuity Argument seeks to show that if we are not disposed to reject the established technology, then features that this technology share with synthetic biology cannot provide reasons to find it ethically problematic. I...

  4. Synthetic Biology with Cytochromes P450 Using Photosynthetic Chassis

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Gnanasekaran, Thiyagarajan

    , this modern field of synthetic biology is completely dependent on the nature of the chassis - the host organisms - for its endeavor. Of all the chassis, photosynthetic organisms such as cyanobacteria and plants gains special attention due to the remarkable amount of sunlight that is striking the Earth...... in cyanobacteria and plant chloroplasts for the purpose of light driven synthesis of bioactive compounds by using synthetic biology approaches. As model pathways, in this thesis, the pathway involved in the synthesis of the cyanogenic glucoside dhurrin from Sorghum bicolor, and the pathway involved......Synthetic biology is a rapidly growing engineering discipline in biology. It aims at building novel biological systems that do not exist in nature by selecting the interchangeable standardized biological parts that are already available in the nature, and assembling them in a specific order. Today...

  5. Ortholog prediction of the Aspergillus genus applicable for synthetic biology

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Rasmussen, Jane Lind Nybo; Vesth, Tammi Camilla; Theobald, Sebastian

    of genotype-to-phenotype. To achieve this, we have developed orthologous protein prediction software that utilizes genus-wide genetic diversity. The approach is optimized for large data sets, based on BLASTp considering protein identity and alignment coverage, and clustering using single linkage of bi......The Aspergillus genus contains leading industrial microorganisms, excelling in producing bioactive compounds and enzymes. Using synthetic biology and bioinformatics, we aim to re-engineer these organisms for applications within human health, pharmaceuticals, environmental engineering, and food......-directional hits. The result is orthologous protein families describing the genomic and functional features of individual species, clades and the core/pan genome of Aspergillus; and applicable to genotype-to-phenotype analyses in other microbial genera....

  6. Safety, security, and serving the public interest in synthetic biology.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gronvall, Gigi Kwik

    2018-03-21

    This article describes what may be done by scientists and by the biotechnology industry, generally, to address the safety and security challenges in synthetic biology. Given the technical expertise requirements for developing sound policy options, as well as the importance of these issues to the future of the industry, scientists who work in synthetic biology should be informed about these challenges and get involved in shaping policies relevant to the field.

  7. The Role of Synthetic Biology in NASA's Missions

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rothschild, Lynn J.

    2016-01-01

    The time has come to for NASA to exploit synthetic biology in pursuit of its missions, including aeronautics, earth science, astrobiology and most notably, human exploration. Conversely, NASA advances the fundamental technology of synthetic biology as no one else can because of its unique expertise in the origin of life and life in extreme environments, including the potential for alternate life forms. This enables unique, creative "game changing" advances. NASA's requirement for minimizing upmass in flight will also drive the field toward miniaturization and automation. These drivers will greatly increase the utility of synthetic biology solutions for military, health in remote areas and commercial purposes. To this end, we have begun a program at NASA to explore the use of synthetic biology in NASA's missions, particular space exploration. As part of this program, we began hosting an iGEM team of undergraduates drawn from Brown and Stanford Universities to conduct synthetic biology research at NASA Ames Research Center. The 2011 team (http://2011.igem.org/Team:Brown-Stanford) produced an award-winning project on using synthetic biology as a basis for a human Mars settlement.

  8. Chromatin regulation at the frontier of synthetic biology

    Science.gov (United States)

    Keung, Albert J.; Joung, J. Keith; Khalil, Ahmad S.; Collins, James J.

    2016-01-01

    As synthetic biology approaches are extended to diverse applications throughout medicine, biotechnology and basic biological research, there is an increasing need to engineer yeast, plant and mammalian cells. Eukaryotic genomes are regulated by the diverse biochemical and biophysical states of chromatin, which brings distinct challenges, as well as opportunities, over applications in bacteria. Recent synthetic approaches, including `epigenome editing', have allowed the direct and functional dissection of many aspects of physiological chromatin regulation. These studies lay the foundation for biomedical and biotechnological engineering applications that could take advantage of the unique combinatorial and spatiotemporal layers of chromatin regulation to create synthetic systems of unprecedented sophistication. PMID:25668787

  9. Predicting Translation Initiation Rates for Designing Synthetic Biology

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Reeve, Benjamin; Hargest, Thomas; Gilbert, Charlie; Ellis, Tom

    2014-01-01

    In synthetic biology, precise control over protein expression is required in order to construct functional biological systems. A core principle of the synthetic biology approach is a model-guided design and based on the biological understanding of the process, models of prokaryotic protein production have been described. Translation initiation rate is a rate-limiting step in protein production from mRNA and is dependent on the sequence of the 5′-untranslated region and the start of the coding sequence. Translation rate calculators are programs that estimate protein translation rates based on the sequence of these regions of an mRNA, and as protein expression is proportional to the rate of translation initiation, such calculators have been shown to give good approximations of protein expression levels. In this review, three currently available translation rate calculators developed for synthetic biology are considered, with limitations and possible future progress discussed.

  10. Exploring Synthetic and Systems Biology at the University of Edinburgh.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fletcher, Liz; Rosser, Susan; Elfick, Alistair

    2016-06-15

    The Centre for Synthetic and Systems Biology ('SynthSys') was originally established in 2007 as the Centre for Integrative Systems Biology, funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC). Today, SynthSys embraces an extensive multidisciplinary community of more than 200 researchers from across the University with a common interest in synthetic and systems biology. Our research is broad and deep, addressing a diversity of scientific questions, with wide ranging impact. We bring together the power of synthetic biology and systems approaches to focus on three core thematic areas: industrial biotechnology, agriculture and the environment, and medicine and healthcare. In October 2015, we opened a newly refurbished building as a physical hub for our new U.K. Centre for Mammalian Synthetic Biology funded by the BBSRC/EPSRC/MRC as part of the U.K. Research Councils' Synthetic Biology for Growth programme. © 2016 The Author(s). published by Portland Press Limited on behalf of the Biochemical Society.

  11. Artificial intelligence and synthetic biology: A tri-temporal contribution.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bianchini, Francesco

    2016-10-01

    Artificial intelligence can make numerous contributions to synthetic biology. I would like to suggest three that are related to the past, present and future of artificial intelligence. From the past, works in biology and artificial systems by Turing and von Neumann prove highly interesting to explore within the new framework of synthetic biology, especially with regard to the notions of self-modification and self-replication and their links to emergence and the bottom-up approach. The current epistemological inquiry into emergence and research on swarm intelligence, superorganisms and biologically inspired cognitive architecture may lead to new achievements on the possibilities of synthetic biology in explaining cognitive processes. Finally, the present-day discussion on the future of artificial intelligence and the rise of superintelligence may point to some research trends for the future of synthetic biology and help to better define the boundary of notions such as "life", "cognition", "artificial" and "natural", as well as their interconnections in theoretical synthetic biology. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.

  12. Yeast synthetic biology toolbox and applications for biofuel production.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tsai, Ching-Sung; Kwak, Suryang; Turner, Timothy L; Jin, Yong-Su

    2015-02-01

    Yeasts are efficient biofuel producers with numerous advantages outcompeting bacterial counterparts. While most synthetic biology tools have been developed and customized for bacteria especially for Escherichia coli, yeast synthetic biological tools have been exploited for improving yeast to produce fuels and chemicals from renewable biomass. Here we review the current status of synthetic biological tools and their applications for biofuel production, focusing on the model strain Saccharomyces cerevisiae We describe assembly techniques that have been developed for constructing genes, pathways, and genomes in yeast. Moreover, we discuss synthetic parts for allowing precise control of gene expression at both transcriptional and translational levels. Applications of these synthetic biological approaches have led to identification of effective gene targets that are responsible for desirable traits, such as cellulosic sugar utilization, advanced biofuel production, and enhanced tolerance against toxic products for biofuel production from renewable biomass. Although an array of synthetic biology tools and devices are available, we observed some gaps existing in tool development to achieve industrial utilization. Looking forward, future tool development should focus on industrial cultivation conditions utilizing industrial strains. © FEMS 2015. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: journals.permission@oup.com.

  13. Using synthetic biology to make cells tomorrow's test tubes.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Garcia, Hernan G; Brewster, Robert C; Phillips, Rob

    2016-04-18

    The main tenet of physical biology is that biological phenomena can be subject to the same quantitative and predictive understanding that physics has afforded in the context of inanimate matter. However, the inherent complexity of many of these biological processes often leads to the derivation of complex theoretical descriptions containing a plethora of unknown parameters. Such complex descriptions pose a conceptual challenge to the establishment of a solid basis for predictive biology. In this article, we present various exciting examples of how synthetic biology can be used to simplify biological systems and distill these phenomena down to their essential features as a means to enable their theoretical description. Here, synthetic biology goes beyond previous efforts to engineer nature and becomes a tool to bend nature to understand it. We discuss various recent and classic experiments featuring applications of this synthetic approach to the elucidation of problems ranging from bacteriophage infection, to transcriptional regulation in bacteria and in developing embryos, to evolution. In all of these examples, synthetic biology provides the opportunity to turn cells into the equivalent of a test tube, where biological phenomena can be reconstituted and our theoretical understanding put to test with the same ease that these same phenomena can be studied in the in vitro setting.

  14. The PLOS ONE Synthetic Biology Collection: Six Years and Counting

    Science.gov (United States)

    Peccoud, Jean; Isalan, Mark

    2012-01-01

    Since it was launched in 2006, PLOS ONE has published over fifty articles illustrating the many facets of the emerging field of synthetic biology. This article reviews these publications by organizing them into broad categories focused on DNA synthesis and assembly techniques, the development of libraries of biological parts, the use of synthetic biology in protein engineering applications, and the engineering of gene regulatory networks and metabolic pathways. Finally, we review articles that describe enabling technologies such as software and modeling, along with new instrumentation. In order to increase the visibility of this body of work, the papers have been assembled into the PLOS ONE Synthetic Biology Collection (www.ploscollections.org/synbio). Many of the innovative features of the PLOS ONE web site will help make this collection a resource that will support a lively dialogue between readers and authors of PLOS ONE synthetic biology papers. The content of the collection will be updated periodically by including relevant articles as they are published by the journal. Thus, we hope that this collection will continue to meet the publishing needs of the synthetic biology community. PMID:22916228

  15. Synthetic Biology: Knowledge Accessed by Everyone (Open Sources)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sánchez Reyes, Patricia Margarita

    2016-01-01

    Using the principles of biology, along with engineering and with the help of computer, scientists manage to copy. DNA sequences from nature and use them to create new organisms. DNA is created through engineering and computer science managing to create life inside a laboratory. We cannot dismiss the role that synthetic biology could lead in…

  16. A standard-enabled workflow for synthetic biology

    KAUST Repository

    Myers, Chris J.

    2017-06-15

    A synthetic biology workflow is composed of data repositories that provide information about genetic parts, sequence-level design tools to compose these parts into circuits, visualization tools to depict these designs, genetic design tools to select parts to create systems, and modeling and simulation tools to evaluate alternative design choices. Data standards enable the ready exchange of information within such a workflow, allowing repositories and tools to be connected from a diversity of sources. The present paper describes one such workflow that utilizes, among others, the Synthetic Biology Open Language (SBOL) to describe genetic designs, the Systems Biology Markup Language to model these designs, and SBOL Visual to visualize these designs. We describe how a standard-enabled workflow can be used to produce types of design information, including multiple repositories and software tools exchanging information using a variety of data standards. Recently, the ACS Synthetic Biology journal has recommended the use of SBOL in their publications.

  17. Aspects of the political economy of development and synthetic biology.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wellhausen, Rachel; Mukunda, Gautam

    2009-12-01

    What implications might synthetic biology's potential as a wholly new method of production have for the world economy, particularly developing countries? Theories of political economy predict that synthetic biology can shift terms of trade and displace producers in developing countries. Governments, however, retain the ability to mitigate negative changes through social safety nets and to foster adaptation to some changes through research, education and investment. We consider the effects the synthetic production of otherwise naturally derived molecules are likely to have on trade and investment, particularly in developing countries. Both rubber in Malaysia and indigo dyes in India provide historical examples of natural molecules that faced market dislocations from synthetic competitors. Natural rubber was able to maintain significant market share, while natural indigo vanished from world markets. These cases demonstrate the two extremes of the impact synthetic biology might have on naturally derived products. If developing countries can cushion the pain of technological changes by providing producers support as they retool or exit, the harmful effects of synthetic biology can be mitigated while its benefits can still be captured.

  18. Industrial systems biology and its impact on synthetic biology of yeast cell factories.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fletcher, Eugene; Krivoruchko, Anastasia; Nielsen, Jens

    2016-06-01

    Engineering industrial cell factories to effectively yield a desired product while dealing with industrially relevant stresses is usually the most challenging step in the development of industrial production of chemicals using microbial fermentation processes. Using synthetic biology tools, microbial cell factories such as Saccharomyces cerevisiae can be engineered to express synthetic pathways for the production of fuels, biopharmaceuticals, fragrances, and food flavors. However, directing fluxes through these synthetic pathways towards the desired product can be demanding due to complex regulation or poor gene expression. Systems biology, which applies computational tools and mathematical modeling to understand complex biological networks, can be used to guide synthetic biology design. Here, we present our perspective on how systems biology can impact synthetic biology towards the goal of developing improved yeast cell factories. Biotechnol. Bioeng. 2016;113: 1164-1170. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  19. Industrial systems biology and its impact on synthetic biology of yeast cell factories

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Fletcher, Eugene; Krivoruchko, Anastasia; Nielsen, Jens

    2016-01-01

    Engineering industrial cell factories to effectively yield a desired product while dealing with industrially relevant stresses is usually the most challenging step in the development of industrial production of chemicals using microbial fermentation processes. Using synthetic biology tools......, microbial cell factories such as Saccharomyces cerevisiae can be engineered to express synthetic pathways for the production of fuels, biopharmaceuticals, fragrances, and food flavors. However, directing fluxes through these synthetic pathways towards the desired product can be demanding due to complex...... regulation or poor gene expression. Systems biology, which applies computational tools and mathematical modeling to understand complex biological networks, can be used to guide synthetic biology design. Here, we present our perspective on how systems biology can impact synthetic biology towards the goal...

  20. Synthetic biology and biosecurity: challenging the ‘myths’

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Catherine eJefferson

    2014-08-01

    Full Text Available Synthetic biology, a field that aims to ‘make biology easier to engineer’, is routinely described as leading to an increase in the ‘dual use’ threat, i.e. the potential for the same piece of scientific research to be ‘used’ for peaceful purposes or ‘misused’ for warfare or terrorism. Fears have been expressed that the ‘de-skilling’ of biology, combined with online access to the genomic DNA sequences of pathogenic organisms and the reduction in price for DNA synthesis, will make biology increasingly accessible to people operating outside well-equipped professional research laboratories, including people with malevolent intentions. The emergence of DIY biology communities and of the student iGEM competition has come to epitomize this supposed trend towards greater ease of access and the associated potential threat from rogue actors. In this article, we identify 5 ‘myths’ that permeate discussions about synthetic biology and biosecurity, and argue that they embody misleading assumptions about both synthetic biology and bioterrorism. We demonstrate how these myths are challenged by more realistic understandings of the scientific research currently being conducted in both professional and DIY laboratories, and by an analysis of historical cases of bioterrorism. We show that the importance of tacit knowledge is commonly overlooked in the dominant narrative: the focus is on access to biological materials and digital information, rather than on human practices and institutional dimensions. As a result, public discourse on synthetic biology and biosecurity tends to portray speculative scenarios about the future as realities in the present or the near future, when this is not warranted. We suggest that these ‘myths’ play an important role in defining synthetic biology as a ‘promissory’ field of research and as an ‘emerging technology’ in need of governance.

  1. Synthetic Biology and Biosecurity: Challenging the “Myths”

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jefferson, Catherine; Lentzos, Filippa; Marris, Claire

    2014-01-01

    Synthetic biology, a field that aims to “make biology easier to engineer,” is routinely described as leading to an increase in the “dual-use” threat, i.e., the potential for the same scientific research to be “used” for peaceful purposes or “misused” for warfare or terrorism. Fears have been expressed that the “de-skilling” of biology, combined with online access to the genomic DNA sequences of pathogenic organisms and the reduction in price for DNA synthesis, will make biology increasingly accessible to people operating outside well-equipped professional research laboratories, including people with malevolent intentions. The emergence of do-it-yourself (DIY) biology communities and of the student iGEM competition has come to epitomize this supposed trend toward greater ease of access and the associated potential threat from rogue actors. In this article, we identify five “myths” that permeate discussions about synthetic biology and biosecurity, and argue that they embody misleading assumptions about both synthetic biology and bioterrorism. We demonstrate how these myths are challenged by more realistic understandings of the scientific research currently being conducted in both professional and DIY laboratories, and by an analysis of historical cases of bioterrorism. We show that the importance of tacit knowledge is commonly overlooked in the dominant narrative: the focus is on access to biological materials and digital information, rather than on human practices and institutional dimensions. As a result, public discourse on synthetic biology and biosecurity tends to portray speculative scenarios about the future as realities in the present or the near future, when this is not warranted. We suggest that these “myths” play an important role in defining synthetic biology as a “promissory” field of research and as an “emerging technology” in need of governance. PMID:25191649

  2. Synthetic Biology: A Unifying View and Review Using Analog Circuits.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Teo, Jonathan J Y; Woo, Sung Sik; Sarpeshkar, Rahul

    2015-08-01

    We review the field of synthetic biology from an analog circuits and analog computation perspective, focusing on circuits that have been built in living cells. This perspective is well suited to pictorially, symbolically, and quantitatively representing the nonlinear, dynamic, and stochastic (noisy) ordinary and partial differential equations that rigorously describe the molecular circuits of synthetic biology. This perspective enables us to construct a canonical analog circuit schematic that helps unify and review the operation of many fundamental circuits that have been built in synthetic biology at the DNA, RNA, protein, and small-molecule levels over nearly two decades. We review 17 circuits in the literature as particular examples of feedforward and feedback analog circuits that arise from special topological cases of the canonical analog circuit schematic. Digital circuit operation of these circuits represents a special case of saturated analog circuit behavior and is automatically incorporated as well. Many issues that have prevented synthetic biology from scaling are naturally represented in analog circuit schematics. Furthermore, the deep similarity between the Boltzmann thermodynamic equations that describe noisy electronic current flow in subthreshold transistors and noisy molecular flux in biochemical reactions has helped map analog circuit motifs in electronics to analog circuit motifs in cells and vice versa via a `cytomorphic' approach. Thus, a body of knowledge in analog electronic circuit design, analysis, simulation, and implementation may also be useful in the robust and efficient design of molecular circuits in synthetic biology, helping it to scale to more complex circuits in the future.

  3. Synthetic Biology of Cyanobacteria: Unique Challenges and Opportunities

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Bertram M Berla

    2013-08-01

    Full Text Available Photosynthetic organisms, and especially cyanobacteria, hold great promise as sources of renewably-produced fuels, bulk and specialty chemicals, and nutritional products. Synthetic biology tools can help unlock cyanobacteria’s potential for these functions, but unfortunately tool development for these organisms has lagged behind that for S. cerevisiae and E. coli. While these organisms may in many cases be more difficult to work with as ‘chassis’ strains for synthetic biology than certain heterotrophs, the unique advantages of autotrophs in biotechnology applications as well as the scientific importance of improved understanding of photosynthesis warrant the development of these systems into something akin to a ‘green E. coli’. In this review, we highlight unique challenges and opportunities for development of synthetic biology approaches in cyanobacteria. We review classical and recently developed methods for constructing targeted mutants in various cyanobacterial strains, and offer perspective on what genetic tools might most greatly expand the ability to engineer new functions in such strains. Similarly, we review what genetic parts are most needed for the development of cyanobacterial synthetic biology. Finally, we highlight recent methods to construct genome-scale models of cyanobacterial metabolism and to use those models to measure properties of autotrophic metabolism. Throughout this paper, we discuss some of the unique challenges of a diurnal, autotrophic lifestyle along with how the development of synthetic biology and biotechnology in cyanobacteria must fit within those constraints.

  4. Varieties of noise: analogical reasoning in synthetic biology.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Knuuttila, Tarja; Loettgers, Andrea

    2014-12-01

    The picture of synthetic biology as a kind of engineering science has largely created the public understanding of this novel field, covering both its promises and risks. In this paper, we will argue that the actual situation is more nuanced and complex. Synthetic biology is a highly interdisciplinary field of research located at the interface of physics, chemistry, biology, and computational science. All of these fields provide concepts, metaphors, mathematical tools, and models, which are typically utilized by synthetic biologists by drawing analogies between the different fields of inquiry. We will study analogical reasoning in synthetic biology through the emergence of the functional meaning of noise, which marks an important shift in how engineering concepts are employed in this field. The notion of noise serves also to highlight the differences between the two branches of synthetic biology: the basic science-oriented branch and the engineering-oriented branch, which differ from each other in the way they draw analogies to various other fields of study. Moreover, we show that fixing the mapping between a source domain and the target domain seems not to be the goal of analogical reasoning in actual scientific practice.

  5. Behavioral Economics and the Public Acceptance of Synthetic Biology.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Oliver, Adam

    2018-01-01

    Different applications of synthetic biology are alike in that their possible negative consequences are highly uncertain, potentially catastrophic, and perhaps irreversible; therefore, they are also alike in that public attitudes about them are fertile ground for behavioral economic phenomena. Findings from behavioral economics suggest that people may not respond to such applications according to the normal rules of economic evaluation, by which the value of an outcome is multiplied by the mathematical probability that the outcome will occur. Possibly, then, synthetic biology applications challenge the normative postulates of the standard approach, too. I want to first consider how some of the phenomena described by behavioral economists-and behavioral scientists more broadly-might affect people's perceptions of the uncertainties associated with synthetic biology. My analysis will be far from complete, however, because behavioral economics is essentially the study of human behavior, and thus its reach is potentially vast and its development longstanding and ongoing. Nonetheless, I hope to give an indicative perspective on how some aspects of behavioral economics might affect the assessment and perceived acceptability of synthetic biology. I will then consider the issue of agency. Should policy-makers respect people's reactions to synthetic biology when those reactions are known to be driven by behavioral economic phenomena rather than following the normative postulates of rational choice theory? Or should policy-makers dismiss these reactions as inherently biased? I will argue that the normative force of these human reactions (probably) depends on phenomenon and context. © 2018 The Hastings Center.

  6. Cell-free synthetic biology for in vitro prototype engineering.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Moore, Simon J; MacDonald, James T; Freemont, Paul S

    2017-06-15

    Cell-free transcription-translation is an expanding field in synthetic biology as a rapid prototyping platform for blueprinting the design of synthetic biological devices. Exemplar efforts include translation of prototype designs into medical test kits for on-site identification of viruses (Zika and Ebola), while gene circuit cascades can be tested, debugged and re-designed within rapid turnover times. Coupled with mathematical modelling, this discipline lends itself towards the precision engineering of new synthetic life. The next stages of cell-free look set to unlock new microbial hosts that remain slow to engineer and unsuited to rapid iterative design cycles. It is hoped that the development of such systems will provide new tools to aid the transition from cell-free prototype designs to functioning synthetic genetic circuits and engineered natural product pathways in living cells. © 2017 The Author(s).

  7. Synthetic biology approaches: Towards sustainable exploitation of marine bioactive molecules.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Seghal Kiran, G; Ramasamy, Pasiyappazham; Sekar, Sivasankari; Ramu, Meenatchi; Hassan, Saqib; Ninawe, A S; Selvin, Joseph

    2018-06-01

    The discovery of genes responsible for the production of bioactive metabolites via metabolic pathways combined with the advances in synthetic biology tools, has allowed the establishment of numerous microbial cell factories, for instance the yeast cell factories, for the manufacture of highly useful metabolites from renewable biomass. Genome mining and metagenomics are two platforms provide base-line data for reconstruction of genomes and metabolomes which is based in the development of synthetic/semi-synthetic genomes for marine natural products discovery. Engineered biofilms are being innovated on synthetic biology platform using genetic circuits and cell signalling systems as represillators controlling biofilm formation. Recombineering is a process of homologous recombination mediated genetic engineering, includes insertion, deletion or modification of any sequence specifically. Although this discipline considered new to the scientific domain, this field has now developed as promising endeavor on the accomplishment of sustainable exploitation of marine natural products. Copyright © 2018 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  8. Controlled polymer synthesis--from biomimicry towards synthetic biology.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pasparakis, George; Krasnogor, Natalio; Cronin, Leroy; Davis, Benjamin G; Alexander, Cameron

    2010-01-01

    The controlled assembly of synthetic polymer structures is now possible with an unprecedented range of functional groups and molecular architectures. In this critical review we consider how the ability to create artificial materials over lengthscales ranging from a few nm to several microns is generating systems that not only begin to mimic those in nature but also may lead to exciting applications in synthetic biology (139 references).

  9. A Converter from the Systems Biology Markup Language to the Synthetic Biology Open Language.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nguyen, Tramy; Roehner, Nicholas; Zundel, Zach; Myers, Chris J

    2016-06-17

    Standards are important to synthetic biology because they enable exchange and reproducibility of genetic designs. This paper describes a procedure for converting between two standards: the Systems Biology Markup Language (SBML) and the Synthetic Biology Open Language (SBOL). SBML is a standard for behavioral models of biological systems at the molecular level. SBOL describes structural and basic qualitative behavioral aspects of a biological design. Converting SBML to SBOL enables a consistent connection between behavioral and structural information for a biological design. The conversion process described in this paper leverages Systems Biology Ontology (SBO) annotations to enable inference of a designs qualitative function.

  10. Synthetic Biology: Tools to Design, Build, and Optimize Cellular Processes

    Science.gov (United States)

    Young, Eric; Alper, Hal

    2010-01-01

    The general central dogma frames the emergent properties of life, which make biology both necessary and difficult to engineer. In a process engineering paradigm, each biological process stream and process unit is heavily influenced by regulatory interactions and interactions with the surrounding environment. Synthetic biology is developing the tools and methods that will increase control over these interactions, eventually resulting in an integrative synthetic biology that will allow ground-up cellular optimization. In this review, we attempt to contextualize the areas of synthetic biology into three tiers: (1) the process units and associated streams of the central dogma, (2) the intrinsic regulatory mechanisms, and (3) the extrinsic physical and chemical environment. Efforts at each of these three tiers attempt to control cellular systems and take advantage of emerging tools and approaches. Ultimately, it will be possible to integrate these approaches and realize the vision of integrative synthetic biology when cells are completely rewired for biotechnological goals. This review will highlight progress towards this goal as well as areas requiring further research. PMID:20150964

  11. Synthetic Biology: Tools to Design, Build, and Optimize Cellular Processes

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Eric Young

    2010-01-01

    Full Text Available The general central dogma frames the emergent properties of life, which make biology both necessary and difficult to engineer. In a process engineering paradigm, each biological process stream and process unit is heavily influenced by regulatory interactions and interactions with the surrounding environment. Synthetic biology is developing the tools and methods that will increase control over these interactions, eventually resulting in an integrative synthetic biology that will allow ground-up cellular optimization. In this review, we attempt to contextualize the areas of synthetic biology into three tiers: (1 the process units and associated streams of the central dogma, (2 the intrinsic regulatory mechanisms, and (3 the extrinsic physical and chemical environment. Efforts at each of these three tiers attempt to control cellular systems and take advantage of emerging tools and approaches. Ultimately, it will be possible to integrate these approaches and realize the vision of integrative synthetic biology when cells are completely rewired for biotechnological goals. This review will highlight progress towards this goal as well as areas requiring further research.

  12. Synthetic biology: tools to design, build, and optimize cellular processes.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Young, Eric; Alper, Hal

    2010-01-01

    The general central dogma frames the emergent properties of life, which make biology both necessary and difficult to engineer. In a process engineering paradigm, each biological process stream and process unit is heavily influenced by regulatory interactions and interactions with the surrounding environment. Synthetic biology is developing the tools and methods that will increase control over these interactions, eventually resulting in an integrative synthetic biology that will allow ground-up cellular optimization. In this review, we attempt to contextualize the areas of synthetic biology into three tiers: (1) the process units and associated streams of the central dogma, (2) the intrinsic regulatory mechanisms, and (3) the extrinsic physical and chemical environment. Efforts at each of these three tiers attempt to control cellular systems and take advantage of emerging tools and approaches. Ultimately, it will be possible to integrate these approaches and realize the vision of integrative synthetic biology when cells are completely rewired for biotechnological goals. This review will highlight progress towards this goal as well as areas requiring further research.

  13. Yeast synthetic biology for high-value metabolites.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dai, Zhubo; Liu, Yi; Guo, Juan; Huang, Luqi; Zhang, Xueli

    2015-02-01

    Traditionally, high-value metabolites have been produced through direct extraction from natural biological sources which are inefficient, given the low abundance of these compounds. On the other hand, these high-value metabolites are usually difficult to be synthesized chemically, due to their complex structures. In the last few years, the discovery of genes involved in the synthetic pathways of these metabolites, combined with advances in synthetic biology tools, has allowed the construction of increasing numbers of yeast cell factories for production of these metabolites from renewable biomass. This review summarizes recent advances in synthetic biology in terms of the use of yeasts as microbial hosts for the identification of the pathways involved in the synthesis, as well as for the production of high-value metabolites. © FEMS 2015. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: journals.permission@oup.com.

  14. [Advance in flavonoids biosynthetic pathway and synthetic biology].

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zou, Li-Qiu; Wang, Cai-Xia; Kuang, Xue-Jun; Li, Ying; Sun, Chao

    2016-11-01

    Flavonoids are the valuable components in medicinal plants, which possess a variety of pharmacological activities, including anti-tumor, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities. There is an unambiguous understanding about flavonoids biosynthetic pathway, that is,2S-flavanones including naringenin and pinocembrin are the skeleton of other flavonoids and they can transform to other flavonoids through branched metabolic pathway. Elucidation of the flavonoids biosynthetic pathway lays a solid foundation for their synthetic biology. A few flavonoids have been produced in Escherichia coli or yeast with synthetic biological technologies, such as naringenin, pinocembrin and fisetin. Synthetic biology will provide a new way to get valuable flavonoids and promote the research and development of flavonoid drugs and health products, making flavonoids play more important roles in human diet and health. Copyright© by the Chinese Pharmaceutical Association.

  15. Anticipation: Beyond synthetic biology and cognitive robotics.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nasuto, Slawomir J; Hayashi, Yoshikatsu

    2016-10-01

    The aim of this paper is to propose that current robotic technologies cannot have intentional states any more than is feasible within the sensorimotor variant of embodied cognition. It argues that anticipation is an emerging concept that can provide a bridge between both the deepest philosophical theories about the nature of life and cognition and the empirical biological and cognitive sciences steeped in reductionist and Newtonian conceptions of causality. The paper advocates that in order to move forward, cognitive robotics needs to embrace new platforms and a conceptual framework that will enable it to pursue, in a meaningful way, questions about autonomy and purposeful behaviour. We suggest that hybrid systems, part robotic and part cultures of neurones, offer experimental platforms where different dimensions of enactivism (sensorimotor, constitutive foundations of biological autonomy, including anticipation), and their relative contributions to cognition, can be investigated in an integrated way. A careful progression, mindful to the deep philosophical concerns but also respecting empirical evidence, will ultimately lead towards unifying theoretical and empirical biological sciences and may offer advancement where reductionist sciences have been so far faltering. Copyright © 2016 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ireland Ltd.. All rights reserved.

  16. Selection platforms for directed evolution in synthetic biology.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tizei, Pedro A G; Csibra, Eszter; Torres, Leticia; Pinheiro, Vitor B

    2016-08-15

    Life on Earth is incredibly diverse. Yet, underneath that diversity, there are a number of constants and highly conserved processes: all life is based on DNA and RNA; the genetic code is universal; biology is limited to a small subset of potential chemistries. A vast amount of knowledge has been accrued through describing and characterizing enzymes, biological processes and organisms. Nevertheless, much remains to be understood about the natural world. One of the goals in Synthetic Biology is to recapitulate biological complexity from simple systems made from biological molecules-gaining a deeper understanding of life in the process. Directed evolution is a powerful tool in Synthetic Biology, able to bypass gaps in knowledge and capable of engineering even the most highly conserved biological processes. It encompasses a range of methodologies to create variation in a population and to select individual variants with the desired function-be it a ligand, enzyme, pathway or even whole organisms. Here, we present some of the basic frameworks that underpin all evolution platforms and review some of the recent contributions from directed evolution to synthetic biology, in particular methods that have been used to engineer the Central Dogma and the genetic code. © 2016 The Author(s).

  17. Synthetic biology for microbial production of lipid-based biofuels.

    Science.gov (United States)

    d'Espaux, Leo; Mendez-Perez, Daniel; Li, Rachel; Keasling, Jay D

    2015-12-01

    The risks of maintaining current CO2 emission trends have led to interest in producing biofuels using engineered microbes. Microbial biofuels reduce emissions because CO2 produced by fuel combustion is offset by CO2 captured by growing biomass, which is later used as feedstock for biofuel fermentation. Hydrocarbons found in petroleum fuels share striking similarity with biological lipids. Here we review synthetic metabolic pathways based on fatty acid and isoprenoid metabolism to produce alkanes and other molecules suitable as biofuels. We further discuss engineering strategies to optimize engineered biosynthetic routes, as well as the potential of synthetic biology for sustainable manufacturing. Published by Elsevier Ltd.

  18. Synthetic biology for microbial production of lipid-based biofuels

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    d' Espaux, L; Mendez-Perez, D; Li, R; Keasling, JD

    2015-10-23

    The risks of maintaining current CO2 emission trends have led to interest in producing biofuels using engineered microbes. Microbial biofuels reduce emissions because CO2 produced by fuel combustion is offset by CO2 captured by growing biomass, which is later used as feedstock for biofuel fermentation. Hydrocarbons found in petroleum fuels share striking similarity with biological lipids. Here in this paper we review synthetic metabolic pathways based on fatty acid and isoprenoid metabolism to produce alkanes and other molecules suitable as biofuels. Lastly, we further discuss engineering strategies to optimize engineered biosynthetic routes, as well as the potential of synthetic biology for sustainable manufacturing.

  19. Synthetic biology and the moral significance of artificial life

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Christiansen, Andreas

    2016-01-01

    , Powell and Savulescu's definition of artificial life does not capture all core projects of synthetic biology or the ethical concerns that have been voiced, and their definition of moral significance fails to take into account the possibility that creating artificial life is conditionally acceptable......I discuss the moral significance of artificial life within synthetic biology via a discussion of Douglas, Powell and Savulescu's paper 'Is the creation of artificial life morally significant’. I argue that the definitions of 'artificial life’ and of 'moral significance’ are too narrow. Douglas...

  20. Nonlinear dimensionality reduction methods for synthetic biology biobricks' visualization.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yang, Jiaoyun; Wang, Haipeng; Ding, Huitong; An, Ning; Alterovitz, Gil

    2017-01-19

    Visualizing data by dimensionality reduction is an important strategy in Bioinformatics, which could help to discover hidden data properties and detect data quality issues, e.g. data noise, inappropriately labeled data, etc. As crowdsourcing-based synthetic biology databases face similar data quality issues, we propose to visualize biobricks to tackle them. However, existing dimensionality reduction methods could not be directly applied on biobricks datasets. Hereby, we use normalized edit distance to enhance dimensionality reduction methods, including Isomap and Laplacian Eigenmaps. By extracting biobricks from synthetic biology database Registry of Standard Biological Parts, six combinations of various types of biobricks are tested. The visualization graphs illustrate discriminated biobricks and inappropriately labeled biobricks. Clustering algorithm K-means is adopted to quantify the reduction results. The average clustering accuracy for Isomap and Laplacian Eigenmaps are 0.857 and 0.844, respectively. Besides, Laplacian Eigenmaps is 5 times faster than Isomap, and its visualization graph is more concentrated to discriminate biobricks. By combining normalized edit distance with Isomap and Laplacian Eigenmaps, synthetic biology biobircks are successfully visualized in two dimensional space. Various types of biobricks could be discriminated and inappropriately labeled biobricks could be determined, which could help to assess crowdsourcing-based synthetic biology databases' quality, and make biobricks selection.

  1. Regenesis how synthetic biology will reinvent nature and ourselves

    CERN Document Server

    Church, George M

    2012-01-01

    Imagine a future in which human beings have become immune to all viruses, in which bacteria can custom-produce everyday items, like a drinking cup, or generate enough electricity to end oil dependency. Building a house would entail no more work than planting a seed in the ground. These scenarios may seem far-fetched, but pioneering geneticist George Church and science writer Ed Regis show that synthetic biology is bringing us ever closer to making such visions a reality. In "Regenesis," Church and Regis explorethe possibilities--and perils--of the emerging field of synthetic biology. Synthetic biology, in which living organisms are selectively altered by modifying substantial portions of their genomes, allows for the creation of entirely new species of organisms. Until now, nature has been the exclusive arbiter of life, death, and evolution; with synthetic biology, we now have the potential to write our own biological future. Indeed, as Church and Regis show, it even enables us to revisit crucial points in th...

  2. Living GenoChemetics by hyphenating synthetic biology and synthetic chemistry in vivo.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sharma, Sunil V; Tong, Xiaoxue; Pubill-Ulldemolins, Cristina; Cartmell, Christopher; Bogosyan, Emma J A; Rackham, Emma J; Marelli, Enrico; Hamed, Refaat B; Goss, Rebecca J M

    2017-08-09

    Marrying synthetic biology with synthetic chemistry provides a powerful approach toward natural product diversification, combining the best of both worlds: expediency and synthetic capability of biogenic pathways and chemical diversity enabled by organic synthesis. Biosynthetic pathway engineering can be employed to insert a chemically orthogonal tag into a complex natural scaffold affording the possibility of site-selective modification without employing protecting group strategies. Here we show that, by installing a sufficiently reactive handle (e.g., a C-Br bond) and developing compatible mild aqueous chemistries, synchronous biosynthesis of the tagged metabolite and its subsequent chemical modification in living culture can be achieved. This approach can potentially enable many new applications: for example, assay of directed evolution of enzymes catalyzing halo-metabolite biosynthesis in living cells or generating and following the fate of tagged metabolites and biomolecules in living systems. We report synthetic biological access to new-to-nature bromo-metabolites and the concomitant biorthogonal cross-coupling of halo-metabolites in living cultures.Coupling synthetic biology and chemical reactions in cells is a challenging task. The authors engineer bacteria capable of generating bromo-metabolites, develop a mild Suzuki-Miyaura cross-coupling reaction compatible with cell growth and carry out the cross-coupling chemistry in live cell cultures.

  3. Recent progress in synthetic biology for microbial production of C3-C10 alcohols

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Edna N. Lamsen

    2012-06-01

    Full Text Available The growing need to address current energy and environmental problems has sparked an interest in developing improved biological methods to produce liquid fuels from renewable sources. While microbial ethanol production is well established, higher chain alcohols possess chemical properties that are more similar to gasoline. Unfortunately, these alcohols (except 1-butanol are not produced efficiently in natural microorganisms, and thus economical production in industrial volumes remains a challenge. Synthetic biology, however, offers additional tools to engineer synthetic pathways in user-friendly hosts to help increase titers and productivity of these advanced biofuels. This review concentrates on recent developments in synthetic biology to produce higher-chain alcohols as viable renewable replacements for traditional fuel.

  4. TinkerCell: modular CAD tool for synthetic biology

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chandran, Deepak; Bergmann, Frank T; Sauro, Herbert M

    2009-01-01

    Background Synthetic biology brings together concepts and techniques from engineering and biology. In this field, computer-aided design (CAD) is necessary in order to bridge the gap between computational modeling and biological data. Using a CAD application, it would be possible to construct models using available biological "parts" and directly generate the DNA sequence that represents the model, thus increasing the efficiency of design and construction of synthetic networks. Results An application named TinkerCell has been developed in order to serve as a CAD tool for synthetic biology. TinkerCell is a visual modeling tool that supports a hierarchy of biological parts. Each part in this hierarchy consists of a set of attributes that define the part, such as sequence or rate constants. Models that are constructed using these parts can be analyzed using various third-party C and Python programs that are hosted by TinkerCell via an extensive C and Python application programming interface (API). TinkerCell supports the notion of a module, which are networks with interfaces. Such modules can be connected to each other, forming larger modular networks. TinkerCell is a free and open-source project under the Berkeley Software Distribution license. Downloads, documentation, and tutorials are available at . Conclusion An ideal CAD application for engineering biological systems would provide features such as: building and simulating networks, analyzing robustness of networks, and searching databases for components that meet the design criteria. At the current state of synthetic biology, there are no established methods for measuring robustness or identifying components that fit a design. The same is true for databases of biological parts. TinkerCell's flexible modeling framework allows it to cope with changes in the field. Such changes may involve the way parts are characterized or the way synthetic networks are modeled and analyzed computationally. TinkerCell can readily

  5. TinkerCell: modular CAD tool for synthetic biology

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Bergmann Frank T

    2009-10-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background Synthetic biology brings together concepts and techniques from engineering and biology. In this field, computer-aided design (CAD is necessary in order to bridge the gap between computational modeling and biological data. Using a CAD application, it would be possible to construct models using available biological "parts" and directly generate the DNA sequence that represents the model, thus increasing the efficiency of design and construction of synthetic networks. Results An application named TinkerCell has been developed in order to serve as a CAD tool for synthetic biology. TinkerCell is a visual modeling tool that supports a hierarchy of biological parts. Each part in this hierarchy consists of a set of attributes that define the part, such as sequence or rate constants. Models that are constructed using these parts can be analyzed using various third-party C and Python programs that are hosted by TinkerCell via an extensive C and Python application programming interface (API. TinkerCell supports the notion of a module, which are networks with interfaces. Such modules can be connected to each other, forming larger modular networks. TinkerCell is a free and open-source project under the Berkeley Software Distribution license. Downloads, documentation, and tutorials are available at http://www.tinkercell.com. Conclusion An ideal CAD application for engineering biological systems would provide features such as: building and simulating networks, analyzing robustness of networks, and searching databases for components that meet the design criteria. At the current state of synthetic biology, there are no established methods for measuring robustness or identifying components that fit a design. The same is true for databases of biological parts. TinkerCell's flexible modeling framework allows it to cope with changes in the field. Such changes may involve the way parts are characterized or the way synthetic networks are modeled

  6. Co-culture systems and technologies: taking synthetic biology to the next level.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Goers, Lisa; Freemont, Paul; Polizzi, Karen M

    2014-07-06

    Co-culture techniques find myriad applications in biology for studying natural or synthetic interactions between cell populations. Such techniques are of great importance in synthetic biology, as multi-species cell consortia and other natural or synthetic ecology systems are widely seen to hold enormous potential for foundational research as well as novel industrial, medical and environmental applications with many proof-of-principle studies in recent years. What is needed for co-cultures to fulfil their potential? Cell-cell interactions in co-cultures are strongly influenced by the extracellular environment, which is determined by the experimental set-up, which therefore needs to be given careful consideration. An overview of existing experimental and theoretical co-culture set-ups in synthetic biology and adjacent fields is given here, and challenges and opportunities involved in such experiments are discussed. Greater focus on foundational technology developments for co-cultures is needed for many synthetic biology systems to realize their potential in both applications and answering biological questions. © 2014 The Author(s) Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved.

  7. Toward the First Data Acquisition Standard in Synthetic Biology.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sainz de Murieta, Iñaki; Bultelle, Matthieu; Kitney, Richard I

    2016-08-19

    This paper describes the development of a new data acquisition standard for synthetic biology. This comprises the creation of a methodology that is designed to capture all the data, metadata, and protocol information associated with biopart characterization experiments. The new standard, called DICOM-SB, is based on the highly successful Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine (DICOM) standard in medicine. A data model is described which has been specifically developed for synthetic biology. The model is a modular, extensible data model for the experimental process, which can optimize data storage for large amounts of data. DICOM-SB also includes services orientated toward the automatic exchange of data and information between modalities and repositories. DICOM-SB has been developed in the context of systematic design in synthetic biology, which is based on the engineering principles of modularity, standardization, and characterization. The systematic design approach utilizes the design, build, test, and learn design cycle paradigm. DICOM-SB has been designed to be compatible with and complementary to other standards in synthetic biology, including SBOL. In this regard, the software provides effective interoperability. The new standard has been tested by experiments and data exchange between Nanyang Technological University in Singapore and Imperial College London.

  8. Policy on synthetic biology: deliberation, probability, and the precautionary paradox.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wareham, Christopher; Nardini, Cecilia

    2015-02-01

    Synthetic biology is a cutting-edge area of research that holds the promise of unprecedented health benefits. However, in tandem with these large prospective benefits, synthetic biology projects entail a risk of catastrophic consequences whose severity may exceed that of most ordinary human undertakings. This is due to the peculiar nature of synthetic biology as a 'threshold technology' which opens doors to opportunities and applications that are essentially unpredictable. Fears about these potentially unstoppable consequences have led to declarations from civil society groups calling for the use of a precautionary principle to regulate the field. Moreover, the principle is prevalent in law and international agreements. Despite widespread political recognition of a need for caution, the precautionary principle has been extensively criticized as a guide for regulatory policy. We examine a central objection to the principle: that its application entails crippling inaction and incoherence, since whatever action one takes there is always a chance that some highly improbable cataclysm will occur. In response to this difficulty, which we call the 'precautionary paradox,' we outline a deliberative means for arriving at threshold of probability below which potential dangers can be disregarded. In addition, we describe a Bayesian mechanism with which to assign probabilities to harmful outcomes. We argue that these steps resolve the paradox. The rehabilitated PP can thus provide a viable policy option to confront the uncharted waters of synthetic biology research. © 2013 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  9. Plant synthetic biology: a new platform for industrial biotechnology.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fesenko, Elena; Edwards, Robert

    2014-05-01

    Thirty years after the production of the first generation of genetically modified plants we are now set to move into a new era of recombinant crop technology through the application of synthetic biology to engineer new and complex input and output traits. The use of synthetic biology technologies will represent more than incremental additions of transgenes, but rather the directed design of completely new metabolic pathways, physiological traits, and developmental control strategies. The need to enhance our ability to improve crops through new engineering capability is now increasingly pressing as we turn to plants not just for food, but as a source of renewable feedstocks for industry. These accelerating and diversifying demands for new output traits coincide with a need to reduce inputs and improve agricultural sustainability. Faced with such challenges, existing technologies will need to be supplemented with new and far-more-directed approaches to turn valuable resources more efficiently into usable agricultural products. While these objectives are challenging enough, the use of synthetic biology in crop improvement will face public acceptance issues as a legacy of genetically modified technologies in many countries. Here we review some of the potential benefits of adopting synthetic biology approaches in improving plant input and output traits for their use as industrial chemical feedstocks, as linked to the rapidly developing biorefining industry. Several promising technologies and biotechnological targets are identified along with some of the key regulatory and societal challenges in the safe and acceptable introduction of such technology.

  10. Synthetic Biology Open Language (SBOL Version 2.2.0

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Cox Robert Sidney

    2018-04-01

    Full Text Available Synthetic biology builds upon the techniques and successes of genetics, molecular biology, and metabolic engineering by applying engineering principles to the design of biological systems. The field still faces substantial challenges, including long development times, high rates of failure, and poor reproducibility. One method to ameliorate these problems would be to improve the exchange of information about designed systems between laboratories. The synthetic biology open language (SBOL has been developed as a standard to support the specification and exchange of biological design information in synthetic biology, filling a need not satisfied by other pre-existing standards. This document details version 2.2.0 of SBOL that builds upon version 2.1.0 published in last year’s JIB special issue. In particular, SBOL 2.2.0 includes improved description and validation rules for genetic design provenance, an extension to support combinatorial genetic designs, a new class to add non-SBOL data as attachments, a new class for genetic design implementations, and a description of a methodology to describe the entire design-build-test-learn cycle within the SBOL data model.

  11. Synthetic Biology Open Language (SBOL) Version 2.2.0

    KAUST Repository

    Cox, Robert Sidney; Madsen, Curtis; McLaughlin, James Alastair; Nguyen, Tramy; Roehner, Nicholas; Bartley, Bryan; Beal, Jacob; Bissell, Michael; Choi, Kiri; Clancy, Kevin; Grunberg, Raik; Macklin, Chris; Misirli, Goksel; Oberortner, Ernst; Pocock, Matthew; Samineni, Meher; Zhang, Michael; Zhang, Zhen; Zundel, Zach; Gennari, John H.; Myers, Chris; Sauro, Herbert; Wipat, Anil

    2018-01-01

    Synthetic biology builds upon the techniques and successes of genetics, molecular biology, and metabolic engineering by applying engineering principles to the design of biological systems. The field still faces substantial challenges, including long development times, high rates of failure, and poor reproducibility. One method to ameliorate these problems would be to improve the exchange of information about designed systems between laboratories. The synthetic biology open language (SBOL) has been developed as a standard to support the specification and exchange of biological design information in synthetic biology, filling a need not satisfied by other pre-existing standards. This document details version 2.2.0 of SBOL that builds upon version 2.1.0 published in last year's JIB special issue. In particular, SBOL 2.2.0 includes improved description and validation rules for genetic design provenance, an extension to support combinatorial genetic designs, a new class to add non-SBOL data as attachments, a new class for genetic design implementations, and a description of a methodology to describe the entire design-build-test-learn cycle within the SBOL data model.

  12. Synthetic Biology Open Language (SBOL) Version 2.2.0.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cox, Robert Sidney; Madsen, Curtis; McLaughlin, James Alastair; Nguyen, Tramy; Roehner, Nicholas; Bartley, Bryan; Beal, Jacob; Bissell, Michael; Choi, Kiri; Clancy, Kevin; Grünberg, Raik; Macklin, Chris; Misirli, Goksel; Oberortner, Ernst; Pocock, Matthew; Samineni, Meher; Zhang, Michael; Zhang, Zhen; Zundel, Zach; Gennari, John H; Myers, Chris; Sauro, Herbert; Wipat, Anil

    2018-04-02

    Synthetic biology builds upon the techniques and successes of genetics, molecular biology, and metabolic engineering by applying engineering principles to the design of biological systems. The field still faces substantial challenges, including long development times, high rates of failure, and poor reproducibility. One method to ameliorate these problems would be to improve the exchange of information about designed systems between laboratories. The synthetic biology open language (SBOL) has been developed as a standard to support the specification and exchange of biological design information in synthetic biology, filling a need not satisfied by other pre-existing standards. This document details version 2.2.0 of SBOL that builds upon version 2.1.0 published in last year's JIB special issue. In particular, SBOL 2.2.0 includes improved description and validation rules for genetic design provenance, an extension to support combinatorial genetic designs, a new class to add non-SBOL data as attachments, a new class for genetic design implementations, and a description of a methodology to describe the entire design-build-test-learn cycle within the SBOL data model.

  13. Synthetic Biology Open Language (SBOL) Version 2.2.0

    KAUST Repository

    Cox, Robert Sidney

    2018-04-04

    Synthetic biology builds upon the techniques and successes of genetics, molecular biology, and metabolic engineering by applying engineering principles to the design of biological systems. The field still faces substantial challenges, including long development times, high rates of failure, and poor reproducibility. One method to ameliorate these problems would be to improve the exchange of information about designed systems between laboratories. The synthetic biology open language (SBOL) has been developed as a standard to support the specification and exchange of biological design information in synthetic biology, filling a need not satisfied by other pre-existing standards. This document details version 2.2.0 of SBOL that builds upon version 2.1.0 published in last year\\'s JIB special issue. In particular, SBOL 2.2.0 includes improved description and validation rules for genetic design provenance, an extension to support combinatorial genetic designs, a new class to add non-SBOL data as attachments, a new class for genetic design implementations, and a description of a methodology to describe the entire design-build-test-learn cycle within the SBOL data model.

  14. Synthetic biology approaches to engineering the nitrogen symbiosis in cereals.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rogers, Christian; Oldroyd, Giles E D

    2014-05-01

    Nitrogen is abundant in the earth's atmosphere but, unlike carbon, cannot be directly assimilated by plants. The limitation this places on plant productivity has been circumvented in contemporary agriculture through the production and application of chemical fertilizers. The chemical reduction of nitrogen for this purpose consumes large amounts of energy and the reactive nitrogen released into the environment as a result of fertilizer application leads to greenhouse gas emissions, as well as widespread eutrophication of aquatic ecosystems. The environmental impacts are intensified by injudicious use of fertilizers in many parts of the world. Simultaneously, limitations in the production and supply of chemical fertilizers in other regions are leading to low agricultural productivity and malnutrition. Nitrogen can be directly fixed from the atmosphere by some bacteria and Archaea, which possess the enzyme nitrogenase. Some plant species, most notably legumes, have evolved close symbiotic associations with nitrogen-fixing bacteria. Engineering cereal crops with the capability to fix their own nitrogen could one day address the problems created by the over- and under-use of nitrogen fertilizers in agriculture. This could be achieved either by expression of a functional nitrogenase enzyme in the cells of the cereal crop or through transferring the capability to form a symbiotic association with nitrogen-fixing bacteria. While potentially transformative, these biotechnological approaches are challenging; however, with recent advances in synthetic biology they are viable long-term goals. This review discusses the possibility of these biotechnological solutions to the nitrogen problem, focusing on engineering the nitrogen symbiosis in cereals.

  15. Data Integration and Mining for Synthetic Biology Design.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mısırlı, Göksel; Hallinan, Jennifer; Pocock, Matthew; Lord, Phillip; McLaughlin, James Alastair; Sauro, Herbert; Wipat, Anil

    2016-10-21

    One aim of synthetic biologists is to create novel and predictable biological systems from simpler modular parts. This approach is currently hampered by a lack of well-defined and characterized parts and devices. However, there is a wealth of existing biological information, which can be used to identify and characterize biological parts, and their design constraints in the literature and numerous biological databases. However, this information is spread among these databases in many different formats. New computational approaches are required to make this information available in an integrated format that is more amenable to data mining. A tried and tested approach to this problem is to map disparate data sources into a single data set, with common syntax and semantics, to produce a data warehouse or knowledge base. Ontologies have been used extensively in the life sciences, providing this common syntax and semantics as a model for a given biological domain, in a fashion that is amenable to computational analysis and reasoning. Here, we present an ontology for applications in synthetic biology design, SyBiOnt, which facilitates the modeling of information about biological parts and their relationships. SyBiOnt was used to create the SyBiOntKB knowledge base, incorporating and building upon existing life sciences ontologies and standards. The reasoning capabilities of ontologies were then applied to automate the mining of biological parts from this knowledge base. We propose that this approach will be useful to speed up synthetic biology design and ultimately help facilitate the automation of the biological engineering life cycle.

  16. Systems Biology as an Integrated Platform for Bioinformatics, Systems Synthetic Biology, and Systems Metabolic Engineering

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Bor-Sen Chen

    2013-10-01

    Full Text Available Systems biology aims at achieving a system-level understanding of living organisms and applying this knowledge to various fields such as synthetic biology, metabolic engineering, and medicine. System-level understanding of living organisms can be derived from insight into: (i system structure and the mechanism of biological networks such as gene regulation, protein interactions, signaling, and metabolic pathways; (ii system dynamics of biological networks, which provides an understanding of stability, robustness, and transduction ability through system identification, and through system analysis methods; (iii system control methods at different levels of biological networks, which provide an understanding of systematic mechanisms to robustly control system states, minimize malfunctions, and provide potential therapeutic targets in disease treatment; (iv systematic design methods for the modification and construction of biological networks with desired behaviors, which provide system design principles and system simulations for synthetic biology designs and systems metabolic engineering. This review describes current developments in systems biology, systems synthetic biology, and systems metabolic engineering for engineering and biology researchers. We also discuss challenges and future prospects for systems biology and the concept of systems biology as an integrated platform for bioinformatics, systems synthetic biology, and systems metabolic engineering.

  17. Systems Biology as an Integrated Platform for Bioinformatics, Systems Synthetic Biology, and Systems Metabolic Engineering

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chen, Bor-Sen; Wu, Chia-Chou

    2013-01-01

    Systems biology aims at achieving a system-level understanding of living organisms and applying this knowledge to various fields such as synthetic biology, metabolic engineering, and medicine. System-level understanding of living organisms can be derived from insight into: (i) system structure and the mechanism of biological networks such as gene regulation, protein interactions, signaling, and metabolic pathways; (ii) system dynamics of biological networks, which provides an understanding of stability, robustness, and transduction ability through system identification, and through system analysis methods; (iii) system control methods at different levels of biological networks, which provide an understanding of systematic mechanisms to robustly control system states, minimize malfunctions, and provide potential therapeutic targets in disease treatment; (iv) systematic design methods for the modification and construction of biological networks with desired behaviors, which provide system design principles and system simulations for synthetic biology designs and systems metabolic engineering. This review describes current developments in systems biology, systems synthetic biology, and systems metabolic engineering for engineering and biology researchers. We also discuss challenges and future prospects for systems biology and the concept of systems biology as an integrated platform for bioinformatics, systems synthetic biology, and systems metabolic engineering. PMID:24709875

  18. Proceedings of Synthetic Biology: Engineering, Evolution and Design (SEED) Conference 2015

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Silver, Pamela [Harvard Univ., Cambridge, MA (United States); SEED 2015 Conference Chair; Flach, Evan [American Institute of Chemical Engineers; SEED 2015 Conference Organizer

    2016-10-27

    synthetic biology centers and related infrastructure (synthesis/software/foundries) meet to discuss technology, standards, and education. SEED2015 will be the second in an annual series of meeting held to bring researchers from industry and academia in the area of Synthetic Biology. The first SEED conference was highly successful, attracting 285 attendees with varying backgrounds from academia, industry and government. The SEED series provides leadership in the development of the field of synthetic biology and serves to broaden the participants in the field by appealing to broad sectors in industry and providing a means for young investigators and those outside of the field to participate. Further, the series closely integrates with groups such as the SBCC to provide a means by which the synthetic biology community can communicate with policy makers. Further, we will pursue making the meeting the center for the exchange of educational materials as centers for synthetic biology emerge globally. Proceedings will be published each year in the journal ACS Synthetic Biology. After each SEED meeting, surveys are distributed to assess the success of the conference and to help guide changes year-to-year. The diverse application areas further extend the expertise needed from people in areas such as plant biology, agriculture and soil science, environmental science, medicine, and the chemical industry. These areas could have a widespread impact on society in a number of ways. For example, the CRISPR/Cas9 system that serves to immunize bacteria from phage has provided the fundamental chemistry that is used to edit the genomes of diverse organisms, including human stem cells, crop plants, and livestock animals.

  19. Autonomy and Fear of Synthetic Biology: How Can Patients' Autonomy Be Enhanced in the Field of Synthetic Biology? A Qualitative Study with Stable Patients.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rakic, Milenko; Wienand, Isabelle; Shaw, David; Nast, Rebecca; Elger, Bernice S

    2017-04-01

    We analyzed stable patients' views regarding synthetic biology in general, the medical application of synthetic biology, and their potential participation in trials of synthetic biology in particular. The aim of the study was to find out whether patients' views and preferences change after receiving more detailed information about synthetic biology and its clinical applications. The qualitative study was carried out with a purposive sample of 36 stable patients, who suffered from diabetes or gout. Interviews were transcribed verbatim, translated and fully anonymized. Thematic analysis was applied in order to examine stable patients' attitudes towards synthetic biology, its medical application, and their participation in trials. When patients were asked about synthetic biology in general, most of them were anxious that something uncontrollable could be created. After a concrete example of possible future treatment options, patients started to see synthetic biology in a more positive way. Our study constitutes an important first empirical insight into stable patients' views on synthetic biology and into the kind of fears triggered by the term "synthetic biology." Our results show that clear and concrete information can change patients' initial negative feelings towards synthetic biology. Information should thus be transmitted with great accuracy and transparency in order to reduce irrational fears of patients and to minimize the risk that researchers present facts too positively for the purposes of persuading patients to participate in clinical trials. Potential participants need to be adequately informed in order to be able to autonomously decide whether to participate in human subject research involving synthetic biology.

  20. Synthetic Biology and Human Health: Potential Applications for Spaceflight

    Science.gov (United States)

    Karouia, Fathi; Carr, Christopher; Cai, Yizhi; Chen, Y.; Grenon, Marlene; Larios-Sanz, Maia; Jones, Jeffrey A.; Santos, Orlando

    2011-01-01

    Human space travelers experience a unique environment that affects homeostasis and physiologic adaptation. Spaceflight-related changes have been reported in the musculo-skeletal, cardiovascular, neurovestibular, endocrine, and immune systems. The spacecraft environment further subjects the traveler to noise and gravitational forces, as well as airborne chemical, microbiological contaminants, and radiation exposure. As humans prepare for longer duration missions effective countermeasures must be developed, verified, and implemented to ensure mission success. Over the past ten years, synthetic biology has opened new avenues for research and development in areas such as biological control, biomaterials, sustainable energy production, bioremediation, and biomedical therapies. The latter in particular is of great interest to the implementation of long-duration human spaceflight capabilities. This article discusses the effects of spaceflight on humans, and reviews current capabilities and potential needs associated with the health of the astronauts where synthetic biology could play an important role in the pursuit of space exploration.

  1. Phage Therapy in the Era of Synthetic Biology.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Barbu, E Magda; Cady, Kyle C; Hubby, Bolyn

    2016-10-03

    For more than a century, bacteriophage (or phage) research has enabled some of the most important discoveries in biological sciences and has equipped scientists with many of the molecular biology tools that have advanced our understanding of replication, maintenance, and expression of genetic material. Phages have also been recognized and exploited as natural antimicrobial agents and nanovectors for gene therapy, but their potential as therapeutics has not been fully exploited in Western medicine because of challenges such as narrow host range, bacterial resistance, and unique pharmacokinetics. However, increasing concern related to the emergence of bacteria resistant to multiple antibiotics has heightened interest in phage therapy and the development of strategies to overcome hurdles associated with bacteriophage therapeutics. Recent progress in sequencing technologies, DNA manipulation, and synthetic biology allowed scientists to refactor the entire bacterial genome of Mycoplasma mycoides, thereby creating the first synthetic cell. These new strategies for engineering genomes may have the potential to accelerate the construction of designer phage genomes with superior therapeutic potential. Here, we discuss the use of phage as therapeutics, as well as how synthetic biology can create bacteriophage with desirable attributes. Copyright © 2016 Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press; all rights reserved.

  2. A standard-enabled workflow for synthetic biology.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Myers, Chris J; Beal, Jacob; Gorochowski, Thomas E; Kuwahara, Hiroyuki; Madsen, Curtis; McLaughlin, James Alastair; Mısırlı, Göksel; Nguyen, Tramy; Oberortner, Ernst; Samineni, Meher; Wipat, Anil; Zhang, Michael; Zundel, Zach

    2017-06-15

    A synthetic biology workflow is composed of data repositories that provide information about genetic parts, sequence-level design tools to compose these parts into circuits, visualization tools to depict these designs, genetic design tools to select parts to create systems, and modeling and simulation tools to evaluate alternative design choices. Data standards enable the ready exchange of information within such a workflow, allowing repositories and tools to be connected from a diversity of sources. The present paper describes one such workflow that utilizes, among others, the Synthetic Biology Open Language (SBOL) to describe genetic designs, the Systems Biology Markup Language to model these designs, and SBOL Visual to visualize these designs. We describe how a standard-enabled workflow can be used to produce types of design information, including multiple repositories and software tools exchanging information using a variety of data standards. Recently, the ACS Synthetic Biology journal has recommended the use of SBOL in their publications. © 2017 The Author(s); published by Portland Press Limited on behalf of the Biochemical Society.

  3. Specifications of Standards in Systems and Synthetic Biology.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schreiber, Falk; Bader, Gary D; Golebiewski, Martin; Hucka, Michael; Kormeier, Benjamin; Le Novère, Nicolas; Myers, Chris; Nickerson, David; Sommer, Björn; Waltemath, Dagmar; Weise, Stephan

    2015-09-04

    Standards shape our everyday life. From nuts and bolts to electronic devices and technological processes, standardised products and processes are all around us. Standards have technological and economic benefits, such as making information exchange, production, and services more efficient. However, novel, innovative areas often either lack proper standards, or documents about standards in these areas are not available from a centralised platform or formal body (such as the International Standardisation Organisation). Systems and synthetic biology is a relatively novel area, and it is only in the last decade that the standardisation of data, information, and models related to systems and synthetic biology has become a community-wide effort. Several open standards have been established and are under continuous development as a community initiative. COMBINE, the ‘COmputational Modeling in BIology’ NEtwork has been established as an umbrella initiative to coordinate and promote the development of the various community standards and formats for computational models. There are yearly two meeting, HARMONY (Hackathons on Resources for Modeling in Biology), Hackathon-type meetings with a focus on development of the support for standards, and COMBINE forums, workshop-style events with oral presentations, discussion, poster, and breakout sessions for further developing the standards. For more information see http://co.mbine.org/. So far the different standards were published and made accessible through the standards’ web- pages or preprint services. The aim of this special issue is to provide a single, easily accessible and citable platform for the publication of standards in systems and synthetic biology. This special issue is intended to serve as a central access point to standards and related initiatives in systems and synthetic biology, it will be published annually to provide an opportunity for standard development groups to communicate updated specifications.

  4. [Application of microelectronics CAD tools to synthetic biology].

    Science.gov (United States)

    Madec, Morgan; Haiech, Jacques; Rosati, Élise; Rezgui, Abir; Gendrault, Yves; Lallement, Christophe

    2017-02-01

    Synthetic biology is an emerging science that aims to create new biological functions that do not exist in nature, based on the knowledge acquired in life science over the last century. Since the beginning of this century, several projects in synthetic biology have emerged. The complexity of the developed artificial bio-functions is relatively low so that empirical design methods could be used for the design process. Nevertheless, with the increasing complexity of biological circuits, this is no longer the case and a large number of computer aided design softwares have been developed in the past few years. These tools include languages for the behavioral description and the mathematical modelling of biological systems, simulators at different levels of abstraction, libraries of biological devices and circuit design automation algorithms. All of these tools already exist in other fields of engineering sciences, particularly in microelectronics. This is the approach that is put forward in this paper. © 2017 médecine/sciences – Inserm.

  5. Synthetic glycopeptides and glycoproteins with applications in biological research

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ulrika Westerlind

    2012-05-01

    Full Text Available Over the past few years, synthetic methods for the preparation of complex glycopeptides have been drastically improved. The need for homogenous glycopeptides and glycoproteins with defined chemical structures to study diverse biological phenomena further enhances the development of methodologies. Selected recent advances in synthesis and applications, in which glycopeptides or glycoproteins serve as tools for biological studies, are reviewed. The importance of specific antibodies directed to the glycan part, as well as the peptide backbone has been realized during the development of synthetic glycopeptide-based anti-tumor vaccines. The fine-tuning of native chemical ligation (NCL, expressed protein ligation (EPL, and chemoenzymatic glycosylation techniques have all together enabled the synthesis of functional glycoproteins. The synthesis of structurally defined, complex glycopeptides or glyco-clusters presented on natural peptide backbones, or mimics thereof, offer further possibilities to study protein-binding events.

  6. The metaphysical lessons of synthetic biology and neuroscience.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Baertschi, Bernard

    2015-01-01

    In this paper, I examine some important metaphysical lessons that are often presented as derived from two new scientific disciplines: synthetic biology and neuroscience. I analyse four of them: the nature of life, the existence of a soul (the mind-body problem), personhood, and free will. Many caveats are in order, and each 'advance' or each case should be assessed for itself. I conclude that a main lesson can nevertheless be learned: in conjunction with modern science, neuroscience and synthetic biology allow us to enrich old metaphysical debates, to deepen and even renew them. In particular, it becomes less and less plausible to consider life, mind, person, and agency as non-natural or non-physical entities. Copyright © 2015 Académie des sciences. Published by Elsevier SAS. All rights reserved.

  7. Synthetic Biology and Ethics: Past, Present, and Future.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Häyry, Matti

    2017-04-01

    This article explores the ethical issues that have been identified in emerging technologies, from early genetic engineering to synthetic biology. The scientific advances in the field form a continuum, and some ethical considerations can be raised time and again when new developments occur. An underlying concern is the cumulative effect of scientific advances and ensuing technological innovation that can change our understanding of life and humanity.

  8. Synthetic Biology: Life, Jim, but Not As We Know It

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hallinan, Jennifer

    Frankenstein, Mary Shelley's classic tale of horror, warns of the perils of hubris: of the terrible fate that awaits when Man plays God and attempts to create life. Molecular biologists are clearly not listening. Not content with merely inserting the occasional gene into the genome of an existing organism. they are developing a whole new field, Synthetic Biology, which aims to engineer from first principles organisms with desirable, controllable qualities.

  9. Synthetic Biology: Engineering, Evolution and Design (SEED) Conference 2014

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Voigt, Christopher [Massachusetts Institute of Technology

    2014-07-01

    SEED2014 focused on advances in the science and technology emerging from the field of synthetic biology. We broadly define this as technologies that accelerate the process of genetic engineering. It highlighted new tool development, as well as the application of these tools to diverse problems in biotechnology, including therapeutics, industrial chemicals and fuels, natural products, and agriculture. Systems spanned from in vitro experiments and viruses, through diverse bacteria, to eukaryotes (yeast, mammalian cells, plants).

  10. Synthetic biology and the prospects for responsible innovation.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Macnaghten, Phil; Owen, Richard; Jackson, Roland

    2016-11-30

    In this article we provide a short review of the debate on responsible innovation and its intersection with synthetic biology, focusing on initiatives we have witnessed and been involved with in the UK. First, we describe the ways in which responsibility in science has been reconfigured institutionally, from an internal focus on the provision of objective and reliable knowledge, to a more external view that embraces the ways in which it has an impact on society. Secondly, we introduce a framework for responsible innovation as a (partial) response to this shift, highlighting its constituent dimensions and the capacities and competencies that are needed to put it into practice. Thirdly, we chart the development of social science research on synthetic biology, addressing its evolution from an 'ethical, legal and social implications' (ELSI) frame to a responsible innovation frame. Fourthly, we review findings from UK social science research with the synthetic biology community setting out challenges for productive collaboration. And finally, we conclude with suggestions on the need for changes in institutional governance. © 2016 The Author(s). published by Portland Press Limited on behalf of the Biochemical Society.

  11. pClone: Synthetic Biology Tool Makes Promoter Research Accessible to Beginning Biology Students

    Science.gov (United States)

    Campbell, A. Malcolm; Eckdahl, Todd; Cronk, Brian; Andresen, Corinne; Frederick, Paul; Huckuntod, Samantha; Shinneman, Claire; Wacker, Annie; Yuan, Jason

    2014-01-01

    The "Vision and Change" report recommended genuine research experiences for undergraduate biology students. Authentic research improves science education, increases the number of scientifically literate citizens, and encourages students to pursue research. Synthetic biology is well suited for undergraduate research and is a growing area…

  12. Generating Systems Biology Markup Language Models from the Synthetic Biology Open Language.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Roehner, Nicholas; Zhang, Zhen; Nguyen, Tramy; Myers, Chris J

    2015-08-21

    In the context of synthetic biology, model generation is the automated process of constructing biochemical models based on genetic designs. This paper discusses the use cases for model generation in genetic design automation (GDA) software tools and introduces the foundational concepts of standards and model annotation that make this process useful. Finally, this paper presents an implementation of model generation in the GDA software tool iBioSim and provides an example of generating a Systems Biology Markup Language (SBML) model from a design of a 4-input AND sensor written in the Synthetic Biology Open Language (SBOL).

  13. Synthetic biology regulation and governance: Lessons from TAPIC for the United States, European Union, and Singapore.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Trump, Benjamin D

    2017-11-01

    Synthetic biology is an emerging technology with potential benefits to various fields, yet also contains potential risks to human and environmental health. The field remains in an emerging state with limited quantitative guidance and a small but growing population of international researchers that conduct work within this field. Given the uncertain nature of this technology, an adaptive and anticipatory governance framework may be necessary to balance the potential benefits that may accrue from the technology's continued research alongside a desire to reduce or eliminate potential risks that may arise. However, such developments must account for the unique political and institutional factors that form a government's risk culture - something that can facilitate or impede the development of adaptive synthetic biology governance moving forward. The TAPIC framework helps illustrate those factors that are essential to develop good governance for emerging technologies like synthetic biology. Specifically, an application of TAPIC to synthetic biology governance indicates that the factors of accountability, participation, and integrity must be bolstered to improve technology governance in governments like with the United States, European Union, and Singapore. Copyright © 2017. Published by Elsevier B.V.

  14. A Synthetic Biology Framework for Programming Eukaryotic Transcription Functions

    Science.gov (United States)

    Khalil, Ahmad S.; Lu, Timothy K.; Bashor, Caleb J.; Ramirez, Cherie L.; Pyenson, Nora C.; Joung, J. Keith; Collins, James J.

    2013-01-01

    SUMMARY Eukaryotic transcription factors (TFs) perform complex and combinatorial functions within transcriptional networks. Here, we present a synthetic framework for systematically constructing eukaryotic transcription functions using artificial zinc fingers, modular DNA-binding domains found within many eukaryotic TFs. Utilizing this platform, we construct a library of orthogonal synthetic transcription factors (sTFs) and use these to wire synthetic transcriptional circuits in yeast. We engineer complex functions, such as tunable output strength and transcriptional cooperativity, by rationally adjusting a decomposed set of key component properties, e.g., DNA specificity, affinity, promoter design, protein-protein interactions. We show that subtle perturbations to these properties can transform an individual sTF between distinct roles (activator, cooperative factor, inhibitory factor) within a transcriptional complex, thus drastically altering the signal processing behavior of multi-input systems. This platform provides new genetic components for synthetic biology and enables bottom-up approaches to understanding the design principles of eukaryotic transcriptional complexes and networks. PMID:22863014

  15. Transcription control engineering and applications in synthetic biology

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Michael D. Engstrom

    2017-09-01

    Full Text Available In synthetic biology, researchers assemble biological components in new ways to produce systems with practical applications. One of these practical applications is control of the flow of genetic information (from nucleic acid to protein, a.k.a. gene regulation. Regulation is critical for optimizing protein (and therefore activity levels and the subsequent levels of metabolites and other cellular properties. The central dogma of molecular biology posits that information flow commences with transcription, and accordingly, regulatory tools targeting transcription have received the most attention in synthetic biology. In this mini-review, we highlight many past successes and summarize the lessons learned in developing tools for controlling transcription. In particular, we focus on engineering studies where promoters and transcription terminators (cis-factors were directly engineered and/or isolated from DNA libraries. We also review several well-characterized transcription regulators (trans-factors, giving examples of how cis- and trans-acting factors have been combined to create digital and analogue switches for regulating transcription in response to various signals. Last, we provide examples of how engineered transcription control systems have been used in metabolic engineering and more complicated genetic circuits. While most of our mini-review focuses on the well-characterized bacterium Escherichia coli, we also provide several examples of the use of transcription control engineering in non-model organisms. Similar approaches have been applied outside the bacterial kingdom indicating that the lessons learned from bacterial studies may be generalized for other organisms.

  16. Transcription control engineering and applications in synthetic biology.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Engstrom, Michael D; Pfleger, Brian F

    2017-09-01

    In synthetic biology, researchers assemble biological components in new ways to produce systems with practical applications. One of these practical applications is control of the flow of genetic information (from nucleic acid to protein), a.k.a. gene regulation. Regulation is critical for optimizing protein (and therefore activity) levels and the subsequent levels of metabolites and other cellular properties. The central dogma of molecular biology posits that information flow commences with transcription, and accordingly, regulatory tools targeting transcription have received the most attention in synthetic biology. In this mini-review, we highlight many past successes and summarize the lessons learned in developing tools for controlling transcription. In particular, we focus on engineering studies where promoters and transcription terminators ( cis -factors) were directly engineered and/or isolated from DNA libraries. We also review several well-characterized transcription regulators ( trans- factors), giving examples of how cis- and trans -acting factors have been combined to create digital and analogue switches for regulating transcription in response to various signals. Last, we provide examples of how engineered transcription control systems have been used in metabolic engineering and more complicated genetic circuits. While most of our mini-review focuses on the well-characterized bacterium Escherichia coli , we also provide several examples of the use of transcription control engineering in non-model organisms. Similar approaches have been applied outside the bacterial kingdom indicating that the lessons learned from bacterial studies may be generalized for other organisms.

  17. Synthetic biology approaches in drug discovery and pharmaceutical biotechnology.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Neumann, Heinz; Neumann-Staubitz, Petra

    2010-06-01

    Synthetic biology is the attempt to apply the concepts of engineering to biological systems with the aim to create organisms with new emergent properties. These organisms might have desirable novel biosynthetic capabilities, act as biosensors or help us to understand the intricacies of living systems. This approach has the potential to assist the discovery and production of pharmaceutical compounds at various stages. New sources of bioactive compounds can be created in the form of genetically encoded small molecule libraries. The recombination of individual parts has been employed to design proteins that act as biosensors, which could be used to identify and quantify molecules of interest. New biosynthetic pathways may be designed by stitching together enzymes with desired activities, and genetic code expansion can be used to introduce new functionalities into peptides and proteins to increase their chemical scope and biological stability. This review aims to give an insight into recently developed individual components and modules that might serve as parts in a synthetic biology approach to pharmaceutical biotechnology.

  18. Erasing Borders: A Brief Chronicle of Early Synthetic Biology.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Peretó, Juli

    2016-12-01

    Synthetic Biology is currently presented as an emergent field involving the application of engineering principles to living matter. However, the scientific pursuit of making life in a laboratory is not new and has been the ultimate, if somewhat distant, aim of the origin-of-life research program for many years. Actually, over a century ago, the idea that the synthesis of life was indispensable to fully understand its nature already appealed to material scientists and evolutionists alike. Jacques Loeb proposed a research program from an engineering standpoint, following a synthetic method (experimental abiogenesis) and based on his mechanist vision of living beings, which he considered true chemical machines. Early synthetic biology endeavors, such as the premature experiments by Alfonso L. Herrera in Mexico, Stéphane Leduc in France, and John B. Burke in United Kingdom, were easily ridiculed on both scientific and ideological grounds. However, in retrospect, all those attempts should be considered as legitimate and sincere anti-vitalistic efforts to cross the apparent border between inert and living matter.

  19. Suture, synthetic, or biologic in contaminated ventral hernia repair.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bondre, Ioana L; Holihan, Julie L; Askenasy, Erik P; Greenberg, Jacob A; Keith, Jerrod N; Martindale, Robert G; Roth, J Scott; Liang, Mike K

    2016-02-01

    Data are lacking to support the choice between suture, synthetic mesh, or biologic matrix in contaminated ventral hernia repair (VHR). We hypothesize that in contaminated VHR, suture repair is associated with the lowest rate of surgical site infection (SSI). A multicenter database of all open VHR performed at from 2010-2011 was reviewed. All patients with follow-up of 1 mo and longer were included. The primary outcome was SSI as defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The secondary outcome was hernia recurrence (assessed clinically or radiographically). Multivariate analysis (stepwise regression for SSI and Cox proportional hazard model for recurrence) was performed. A total of 761 VHR were reviewed for a median (range) follow-up of 15 (1-50) mo: there were 291(38%) suture, 303 (40%) low-density and/or mid-density synthetic mesh, and 167(22%) biologic matrix repair. On univariate analysis, there were differences in the three groups including ethnicity, ASA, body mass index, institution, diabetes, primary versus incisional hernia, wound class, hernia size, prior VHR, fascial release, skin flaps, and acute repair. The unadjusted outcomes for SSI (15.1%; 17.8%; 21.0%; P = 0.280) and recurrence (17.8%; 13.5%; 21.5%; P = 0.074) were not statistically different between groups. On multivariate analysis, biologic matrix was associated with a nonsignificant reduction in both SSI and recurrences, whereas synthetic mesh associated with fewer recurrences compared to suture (hazard ratio = 0.60; P = 0.015) and nonsignificant increase in SSI. Interval estimates favored biologic matrix repair in contaminated VHR; however, these results were not statistically significant. In the absence of higher level evidence, surgeons should carefully balance risk, cost, and benefits in managing contaminated ventral hernia repair. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  20. Synthetic biology and regulatory networks: where metabolic systems biology meets control engineering.

    Science.gov (United States)

    He, Fei; Murabito, Ettore; Westerhoff, Hans V

    2016-04-01

    Metabolic pathways can be engineered to maximize the synthesis of various products of interest. With the advent of computational systems biology, this endeavour is usually carried out through in silico theoretical studies with the aim to guide and complement further in vitro and in vivo experimental efforts. Clearly, what counts is the result in vivo, not only in terms of maximal productivity but also robustness against environmental perturbations. Engineering an organism towards an increased production flux, however, often compromises that robustness. In this contribution, we review and investigate how various analytical approaches used in metabolic engineering and synthetic biology are related to concepts developed by systems and control engineering. While trade-offs between production optimality and cellular robustness have already been studied diagnostically and statically, the dynamics also matter. Integration of the dynamic design aspects of control engineering with the more diagnostic aspects of metabolic, hierarchical control and regulation analysis is leading to the new, conceptual and operational framework required for the design of robust and productive dynamic pathways. © 2016 The Author(s).

  1. Materials Manufactured from 3D Printed Synthetic Biology Arrays

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gentry, Diana; Micks, Ashley

    2013-01-01

    Many complex, biologically-derived materials have extremely useful properties (think wood or silk), but are unsuitable for space-related applications due to production, manufacturing, or processing limitations. Large-scale ecosystem-based production, such as raising and harvesting trees for wood, is impractical in a self-contained habitat such as a space station or potential Mars colony. Manufacturing requirements, such as the specialized equipment needed to harvest and process cotton, add too much upmass for current launch technology. Cells in nature are already highly specialized for making complex biological materials on a micro scale. We envision combining these strengths with the recently emergent technologies of synthetic biology and 3D printing to create 3D-structured arrays of cells that are bioengineered to secrete different materials in a specified three-dimensional pattern.

  2. Design of synthetic biological logic circuits based on evolutionary algorithm.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chuang, Chia-Hua; Lin, Chun-Liang; Chang, Yen-Chang; Jennawasin, Tanagorn; Chen, Po-Kuei

    2013-08-01

    The construction of an artificial biological logic circuit using systematic strategy is recognised as one of the most important topics for the development of synthetic biology. In this study, a real-structured genetic algorithm (RSGA), which combines general advantages of the traditional real genetic algorithm with those of the structured genetic algorithm, is proposed to deal with the biological logic circuit design problem. A general model with the cis-regulatory input function and appropriate promoter activity functions is proposed to synthesise a wide variety of fundamental logic gates such as NOT, Buffer, AND, OR, NAND, NOR and XOR. The results obtained can be extended to synthesise advanced combinational and sequential logic circuits by topologically distinct connections. The resulting optimal design of these logic gates and circuits are established via the RSGA. The in silico computer-based modelling technology has been verified showing its great advantages in the purpose.

  3. The fusion of biology, computer science, and engineering: towards efficient and successful synthetic biology.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Linshiz, Gregory; Goldberg, Alex; Konry, Tania; Hillson, Nathan J

    2012-01-01

    Synthetic biology is a nascent field that emerged in earnest only around the turn of the millennium. It aims to engineer new biological systems and impart new biological functionality, often through genetic modifications. The design and construction of new biological systems is a complex, multistep process, requiring multidisciplinary collaborative efforts from "fusion" scientists who have formal training in computer science or engineering, as well as hands-on biological expertise. The public has high expectations for synthetic biology and eagerly anticipates the development of solutions to the major challenges facing humanity. This article discusses laboratory practices and the conduct of research in synthetic biology. It argues that the fusion science approach, which integrates biology with computer science and engineering best practices, including standardization, process optimization, computer-aided design and laboratory automation, miniaturization, and systematic management, will increase the predictability and reproducibility of experiments and lead to breakthroughs in the construction of new biological systems. The article also discusses several successful fusion projects, including the development of software tools for DNA construction design automation, recursive DNA construction, and the development of integrated microfluidics systems.

  4. Automated Design Framework for Synthetic Biology Exploiting Pareto Optimality.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Otero-Muras, Irene; Banga, Julio R

    2017-07-21

    In this work we consider Pareto optimality for automated design in synthetic biology. We present a generalized framework based on a mixed-integer dynamic optimization formulation that, given design specifications, allows the computation of Pareto optimal sets of designs, that is, the set of best trade-offs for the metrics of interest. We show how this framework can be used for (i) forward design, that is, finding the Pareto optimal set of synthetic designs for implementation, and (ii) reverse design, that is, analyzing and inferring motifs and/or design principles of gene regulatory networks from the Pareto set of optimal circuits. Finally, we illustrate the capabilities and performance of this framework considering four case studies. In the first problem we consider the forward design of an oscillator. In the remaining problems, we illustrate how to apply the reverse design approach to find motifs for stripe formation, rapid adaption, and fold-change detection, respectively.

  5. Synthetic biology in cell-based cancer immunotherapy.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chakravarti, Deboki; Wong, Wilson W

    2015-08-01

    The adoptive transfer of genetically engineered T cells with cancer-targeting receptors has shown tremendous promise for eradicating tumors in clinical trials. This form of cellular immunotherapy presents a unique opportunity to incorporate advanced systems and synthetic biology approaches to create cancer therapeutics with novel functions. We first review the development of synthetic receptors, switches, and circuits to control the location, duration, and strength of T cell activity against tumors. In addition, we discuss the cellular engineering and genome editing of host cells (or the chassis) to improve the efficacy of cell-based cancer therapeutics, and to reduce the time and cost of manufacturing. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  6. Bottom-up synthetic biology: modular design for making artificial platelets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Majumder, Sagardip; Liu, Allen P.

    2018-01-01

    Engineering artificial cells to mimic one or multiple fundamental cell biological functions is an emerging area of synthetic biology. Reconstituting functional modules from biological components in vitro is a challenging yet an important essence of bottom-up synthetic biology. Here we describe the concept of building artificial platelets using bottom-up synthetic biology and the four functional modules that together could enable such an ambitious effort.

  7. 3rd congress on applied synthetic biology in Europe (Costa da Caparica, Portugal, February 2016).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cueva, Miguel

    2017-03-25

    The third meeting organised by the European Federation of Biotechnology (EFB) on advances in Applied Synthetic Biotechnology in Europe (ASBE) was held in Costa da Caparica, Portugal, in February 2016. Abundant novel applications in synthetic biology were described in the six sessions of the meeting, which was divided into technology and tools for synthetic biology (I, II and III), bionanoscience, biosynthetic pathways and enzyme synthetic biology, and metabolic engineering and chemical manufacturing. The meeting presented numerous methods for the development of novel synthetic strains, synthetic biological tools and synthetic biology applications. With the aid of synthetic biology, production costs of chemicals, metabolites and food products are expected to decrease, by generating sustainable biochemical production of such resources. Also, such synthetic biological advances could be applied for medical purposes, as in pharmaceuticals and for biosensors. Recurrent, linked themes throughout the meeting were the shortage of resources, the world's transition into a bioeconomy, and how synthetic biology is helping tackle these issues through cutting-edge technologies. While there are still limitations in synthetic biology research, innovation is propelling the development of technology, the standardisation of synthetic biological tools and the use of suitable host organisms. These developments are laying a foundation to providing a future where cutting-edge research could generate potential solutions to society's pressing issues, thus incentivising a transition into a bioeconomy. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  8. Fourier transform Raman spectroscopy of synthetic and biological calcium phosphates.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sauer, G R; Zunic, W B; Durig, J R; Wuthier, R E

    1994-05-01

    Fourier-transform (FT) Raman spectroscopy was used to characterize the organic and mineral components of biological and synthetic calcium phosphate minerals. Raman spectroscopy provides information on biological minerals that is complimentary to more widely used infrared methodologies as some infrared-inactive vibrational modes are Raman-active. The application of FT-Raman technology has, for the first time, enabled the problems of high sample fluorescence and low signal-to-noise that are inherent in calcified tissues to be overcome. Raman spectra of calcium phosphates are dominated by a very strong band near 960 cm-1 that arises from the symmetric stretching mode (v1) of the phosphate group. Other Raman-active phosphate vibrational bands are seen at approximately 1075 (v3), 590 (v4), and 435 cm-1 (v2). Minerals containing acidic phosphate groups show additional vibrational modes. The different calcium phosphate mineral phases can be distinguished from one another by the relative positions and shapes of these bands in the Raman spectra. FT-Raman spectra of nascent, nonmineralized matrix vesicles (MV) show a distinct absence of the phosphate v1 band even though these structures are rich in calcium and phosphate. Similar results were seen with milk casein and synthetic Ca-phosphatidyl-serine-PO4 complexes. Hence, the phosphate and/or acidic phosphate ions in these noncrystalline biological calcium phosphates is in a molecular environment that differs from that in synthetic amorphous calcium phosphate. In MV, the first distinct mineral phase to form contained acidic phosphate bands similar to those seen in octacalcium phosphate. The mineral phase present in fully mineralized MV was much more apatitic, resembling that found in bones and teeth.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

  9. Synthetic and systems biology for microbial production of commodity chemicals.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chubukov, Victor; Mukhopadhyay, Aindrila; Petzold, Christopher J; Keasling, Jay D; Martín, Héctor García

    2016-01-01

    The combination of synthetic and systems biology is a powerful framework to study fundamental questions in biology and produce chemicals of immediate practical application such as biofuels, polymers, or therapeutics. However, we cannot yet engineer biological systems as easily and precisely as we engineer physical systems. In this review, we describe the path from the choice of target molecule to scaling production up to commercial volumes. We present and explain some of the current challenges and gaps in our knowledge that must be overcome in order to bring our bioengineering capabilities to the level of other engineering disciplines. Challenges start at molecule selection, where a difficult balance between economic potential and biological feasibility must be struck. Pathway design and construction have recently been revolutionized by next-generation sequencing and exponentially improving DNA synthesis capabilities. Although pathway optimization can be significantly aided by enzyme expression characterization through proteomics, choosing optimal relative protein expression levels for maximum production is still the subject of heuristic, non-systematic approaches. Toxic metabolic intermediates and proteins can significantly affect production, and dynamic pathway regulation emerges as a powerful but yet immature tool to prevent it. Host engineering arises as a much needed complement to pathway engineering for high bioproduct yields; and systems biology approaches such as stoichiometric modeling or growth coupling strategies are required. A final, and often underestimated, challenge is the successful scale up of processes to commercial volumes. Sustained efforts in improving reproducibility and predictability are needed for further development of bioengineering.

  10. Mimicking biological stress-strain behaviour with synthetic elastomers

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vatankhah-Varnosfaderani, Mohammad; Daniel, William F. M.; Everhart, Matthew H.; Pandya, Ashish A.; Liang, Heyi; Matyjaszewski, Krzysztof; Dobrynin, Andrey V.; Sheiko, Sergei S.

    2017-09-01

    Despite the versatility of synthetic chemistry, certain combinations of mechanical softness, strength, and toughness can be difficult to achieve in a single material. These combinations are, however, commonplace in biological tissues, and are therefore needed for applications such as medical implants, tissue engineering, soft robotics, and wearable electronics. Present materials synthesis strategies are predominantly Edisonian, involving the empirical mixing of assorted monomers, crosslinking schemes, and occluded swelling agents, but this approach yields limited property control. Here we present a general strategy for mimicking the mechanical behaviour of biological materials by precisely encoding their stress-strain curves in solvent-free brush- and comb-like polymer networks (elastomers). The code consists of three independent architectural parameters—network strand length, side-chain length and grafting density. Using prototypical poly(dimethylsiloxane) elastomers, we illustrate how this parametric triplet enables the replication of the strain-stiffening characteristics of jellyfish, lung, and arterial tissues.

  11. Synthetic biology routes to bio-artificial intelligence

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zaikin, Alexey; Saka, Yasushi; Romano, M. Carmen; Giuraniuc, Claudiu V.; Kanakov, Oleg; Laptyeva, Tetyana

    2016-01-01

    The design of synthetic gene networks (SGNs) has advanced to the extent that novel genetic circuits are now being tested for their ability to recapitulate archetypal learning behaviours first defined in the fields of machine and animal learning. Here, we discuss the biological implementation of a perceptron algorithm for linear classification of input data. An expansion of this biological design that encompasses cellular ‘teachers’ and ‘students’ is also examined. We also discuss implementation of Pavlovian associative learning using SGNs and present an example of such a scheme and in silico simulation of its performance. In addition to designed SGNs, we also consider the option to establish conditions in which a population of SGNs can evolve diversity in order to better contend with complex input data. Finally, we compare recent ethical concerns in the field of artificial intelligence (AI) and the future challenges raised by bio-artificial intelligence (BI). PMID:27903825

  12. ‘Can Simple Biological Systems be Built from Standardized Interchangeable Parts?’:Negotiating Biology and Engineering in a Synthetic Biology Competition

    OpenAIRE

    Frow, Emma; Calvert, Jane

    2013-01-01

    Synthetic biology represents a recent attempt to bring engineering principles and practices to working with biology. In practice, the nature of the relationship between engineering and biology in synthetic biology is a subject of ongoing debate. The disciplines of biology and engineering are typically seen to involve differentways of knowing and doing, and to embody different assumptions and objectives. Tensions between these approaches are playing out as the field of synthetic biology is bei...

  13. Cell-free synthetic biology: thinking outside the cell.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hodgman, C Eric; Jewett, Michael C

    2012-05-01

    Cell-free synthetic biology is emerging as a powerful approach aimed to understand, harness, and expand the capabilities of natural biological systems without using intact cells. Cell-free systems bypass cell walls and remove genetic regulation to enable direct access to the inner workings of the cell. The unprecedented level of control and freedom of design, relative to in vivo systems, has inspired the rapid development of engineering foundations for cell-free systems in recent years. These efforts have led to programmed circuits, spatially organized pathways, co-activated catalytic ensembles, rational optimization of synthetic multi-enzyme pathways, and linear scalability from the micro-liter to the 100-liter scale. It is now clear that cell-free systems offer a versatile test-bed for understanding why nature's designs work the way they do and also for enabling biosynthetic routes to novel chemicals, sustainable fuels, and new classes of tunable materials. While challenges remain, the emergence of cell-free systems is poised to open the way to novel products that until now have been impractical, if not impossible, to produce by other means. Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  14. Is there anything unique in the ethics of synthetic biology?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Heyd, David

    2012-01-01

    Synthetic biology does not create any ethical dilemmas that have not already been raised in the development of practices such as genetic screening, genetic engineering, and other interventions in the evolutionary processes. The issue is, nevertheless, ethically serious. Two different angles are examined: the philosophical legitimacy of human intervention in the shaping of human nature, and the more pragmatic (though by no means less important) question of the risks involved in such a novel line of research. As for the first, the claim made here is that in principle there is no constraint in human intervention in the world, since ultimately the source of any value lies in human interests, welfare, and values. This is an approach that is opposite to Habermas's. As for the practical problem of risk, research in synthetic biology calls for particular caution, since in at least the first stages of a new research or program, there is no social regulation, and society is wholly dependent on the scientist's ethical integrity.

  15. Bacterial microcompartments as metabolic modules for plant synthetic biology.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gonzalez-Esquer, C Raul; Newnham, Sarah E; Kerfeld, Cheryl A

    2016-07-01

    Bacterial microcompartments (BMCs) are megadalton-sized protein assemblies that enclose segments of metabolic pathways within cells. They increase the catalytic efficiency of the encapsulated enzymes while sequestering volatile or toxic intermediates from the bulk cytosol. The first BMCs discovered were the carboxysomes of cyanobacteria. Carboxysomes compartmentalize the enzyme ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase (RuBisCO) with carbonic anhydrase. They enhance the carboxylase activity of RuBisCO by increasing the local concentration of CO2 in the vicinity of the enzyme's active site. As a metabolic module for carbon fixation, carboxysomes could be transferred to eukaryotic organisms (e.g. plants) to increase photosynthetic efficiency. Within the scope of synthetic biology, carboxysomes and other BMCs hold even greater potential when considered a source of building blocks for the development of nanoreactors or three-dimensional scaffolds to increase the efficiency of either native or heterologously expressed enzymes. The carboxysome serves as an ideal model system for testing approaches to engineering BMCs because their expression in cyanobacteria provides a sensitive screen for form (appearance of polyhedral bodies) and function (ability to grow on air). We recount recent progress in the re-engineering of the carboxysome shell and core to offer a conceptual framework for the development of BMC-based architectures for applications in plant synthetic biology. © 2016 The Authors The Plant Journal © 2016 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  16. Inelastic neutron scattering from synthetic and biological polymers

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    White, J.W.

    1976-01-01

    Neutron elastic and inelastic scattering measurements have provided many unique insights into structure, and by reviewing progress on synthetics, important differences likely to arise in biological systems are identified and a direction for studies of the latter is suggested. By neutron inelastic scattering it is possible to measure the frequency of thermally excited interatomic and intermolecular vibrations in crystals. With perfect organic and inorganic crystals the technique is now classical and has given great insight into the crystal forces responsible for the observed structures as well as the phase transitions they undergo. The study of polymer crystals immediately presents two problems of disorder: (1) Macroscopic disorder arises because the sample is a mixture of amorphous and crystalline fractions, and it may be acute enough to inhibit growth of a single crystal large enough for neutron studies. (2) Microscopic disorder in the packing of polymer chains in the ''crystalline'' regions is indicated by broadening of Bragg peaks. Both types of disorder problem arise in biological systems. The methods by which they were partially overcome to allow neutron measurements with synthetic polymers are described but first a classical example of the determination of interatomic forces by inelastic neutron scattering is given

  17. MIDAS: A Modular DNA Assembly System for Synthetic Biology.

    Science.gov (United States)

    van Dolleweerd, Craig J; Kessans, Sarah A; Van de Bittner, Kyle C; Bustamante, Leyla Y; Bundela, Rudranuj; Scott, Barry; Nicholson, Matthew J; Parker, Emily J

    2018-04-20

    A modular and hierarchical DNA assembly platform for synthetic biology based on Golden Gate (Type IIS restriction enzyme) cloning is described. This enabling technology, termed MIDAS (for Modular Idempotent DNA Assembly System), can be used to precisely assemble multiple DNA fragments in a single reaction using a standardized assembly design. It can be used to build genes from libraries of sequence-verified, reusable parts and to assemble multiple genes in a single vector, with full user control over gene order and orientation, as well as control of the direction of growth (polarity) of the multigene assembly, a feature that allows genes to be nested between other genes or genetic elements. We describe the detailed design and use of MIDAS, exemplified by the reconstruction, in the filamentous fungus Penicillium paxilli, of the metabolic pathway for production of paspaline and paxilline, key intermediates in the biosynthesis of a range of indole diterpenes-a class of secondary metabolites produced by several species of filamentous fungi. MIDAS was used to efficiently assemble a 25.2 kb plasmid from 21 different modules (seven genes, each composed of three basic parts). By using a parts library-based system for construction of complex assemblies, and a unique set of vectors, MIDAS can provide a flexible route to assembling tailored combinations of genes and other genetic elements, thereby supporting synthetic biology applications in a wide range of expression hosts.

  18. Learning from biology: synthetic lipoproteins for drug delivery.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Huang, Huang; Cruz, William; Chen, Juan; Zheng, Gang

    2015-01-01

    Synthetic lipoproteins represent a relevant tool for targeted delivery of biological/chemical agents (chemotherapeutics, siRNAs, photosensitizers, and imaging contrast agents) into various cell types. These nanoparticles offer a number of advantages for drugs delivery over their native counterparts while retaining their natural characteristics and biological functions. Their ultra-small size (lipoprotein receptors, i.e., low-density lipoprotein receptor (LDLR) and Scavenger receptor class B member 1 (SRB1) that are found in a number of pathological conditions (e.g., cancer, atherosclerosis), make them superior delivery strategies when compared with other nanoparticle systems. We review the various approaches that have been developed for the generation of synthetic lipoproteins and their respective applications in vitro and in vivo. More specifically, we summarize the approaches employed to address the limitation on use of reconstituted lipoproteins by means of natural or recombinant apolipoproteins, as well as apolipoprotein mimetic molecules. Finally, we provide an overview of the advantages and disadvantages of these approaches and discuss future perspectives for clinical translation of these nanoparticles. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  19. Basic science through engineering? Synthetic modeling and the idea of biology-inspired engineering.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Knuuttila, Tarja; Loettgers, Andrea

    2013-06-01

    Synthetic biology is often understood in terms of the pursuit for well-characterized biological parts to create synthetic wholes. Accordingly, it has typically been conceived of as an engineering dominated and application oriented field. We argue that the relationship of synthetic biology to engineering is far more nuanced than that and involves a sophisticated epistemic dimension, as shown by the recent practice of synthetic modeling. Synthetic models are engineered genetic networks that are implanted in a natural cell environment. Their construction is typically combined with experiments on model organisms as well as mathematical modeling and simulation. What is especially interesting about this combinational modeling practice is that, apart from greater integration between these different epistemic activities, it has also led to the questioning of some central assumptions and notions on which synthetic biology is based. As a result synthetic biology is in the process of becoming more "biology inspired." Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  20. Prospects for Applying Synthetic Biology to Toxicology: Future Opportunities and Current Limitations for the Repurposing of Cytochrome P450 Systems.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Behrendorff, James B Y H; Gillam, Elizabeth M J

    2017-01-17

    The 30 years since the inception of Chemical Research in Toxicology, game-changing advances in chemical and molecular biology, the fundamental disciplines underpinning molecular toxicology, have been made. While these have led to important advances in the study of mechanisms by which chemicals damage cells and systems, there has been less focus on applying these advances to prediction, detection, and mitigation of toxicity. Over the last ∼15 years, synthetic biology, the repurposing of biological "parts" in systems engineered for useful ends, has been explored in other areas of the biomedical and life sciences, for such applications as detecting metabolites, drug discovery and delivery, investigating disease mechanisms, improving medical treatment, and producing useful chemicals. These examples provide models for the application of synthetic biology to toxicology, which, for the most part, has not yet benefited from such approaches. In this perspective, we review the synthetic biology approaches that have been applied to date and speculate on possible short to medium term and "blue sky" aspirations for synthetic biology, particularly in clinical and environmental toxicology. Finally, we point out key hurdles that must be overcome for the full potential of synthetic biology to be realized.

  1. Translational environmental biology: cell biology informing conservation.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Traylor-Knowles, Nikki; Palumbi, Stephen R

    2014-05-01

    Typically, findings from cell biology have been beneficial for preventing human disease. However, translational applications from cell biology can also be applied to conservation efforts, such as protecting coral reefs. Recent efforts to understand the cell biological mechanisms maintaining coral health such as innate immunity and acclimatization have prompted new developments in conservation. Similar to biomedicine, we urge that future efforts should focus on better frameworks for biomarker development to protect coral reefs. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  2. Synthetic biology and its alternatives. Descartes, Kant and the idea of engineering biological machines.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kogge, Werner; Richter, Michael

    2013-06-01

    The engineering-based approach of synthetic biology is characterized by an assumption that 'engineering by design' enables the construction of 'living machines'. These 'machines', as biological machines, are expected to display certain properties of life, such as adapting to changing environments and acting in a situated way. This paper proposes that a tension exists between the expectations placed on biological artefacts and the notion of producing such systems by means of engineering; this tension makes it seem implausible that biological systems, especially those with properties characteristic of living beings, can in fact be produced using the specific methods of engineering. We do not claim that engineering techniques have nothing to contribute to the biotechnological construction of biological artefacts. However, drawing on Descartes's and Kant's thinking on the relationship between the organism and the machine, we show that it is considerably more plausible to assume that distinctively biological artefacts emerge within a paradigm different from the paradigm of the Cartesian machine that underlies the engineering approach. We close by calling for increased attention to be paid to approaches within molecular biology and chemistry that rest on conceptions different from those of synthetic biology's engineering paradigm. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  3. Testing of Synthetic Biological Membranes for Forward Osmosis Applications

    Science.gov (United States)

    Parodi, Jurek; Mangado, Jaione Romero; Stefanson, Ofir; Flynn, Michael; Mancinelli, Rocco; Kawashima, Brian; Trieu, Serena; Brozell, Adrian; Rosenberg, Kevan

    2016-01-01

    Commercially available forward osmosis membranes have been extensively tested for human space flight wastewater treatment. Despite the improvements achieved in the last decades, there is still a challenge to produce reliable membranes with anti-fouling properties, chemical resistance, and high flux and selectivity. Synthetic biological membranes that mimic the ones present in nature, which underwent millions of years of evolution, represent a potential solution for further development and progress in membrane technology. Biomimetic forward osmosis membranes based on a polymeric support filter and coated with surfactant multilayers have been engineered to investigate how different manufacturing processes impact the performance and structure of the membrane. However, initial results of the first generation prototype membranes tests reveal a high scatter in the data, due to the current testing apparatus set up. The testing apparatus has been upgraded to improve data collection, reduce errors, and to allow higher control of the testing process.

  4. Engineering Therapeutic T Cells: From Synthetic Biology to Clinical Trials.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Esensten, Jonathan H; Bluestone, Jeffrey A; Lim, Wendell A

    2017-01-24

    Engineered T cells are currently in clinical trials to treat patients with cancer, solid organ transplants, and autoimmune diseases. However, the field is still in its infancy. The design, and manufacturing, of T cell therapies is not standardized and is performed mostly in academic settings by competing groups. Reliable methods to define dose and pharmacokinetics of T cell therapies need to be developed. As of mid-2016, there are no US Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved T cell therapeutics on the market, and FDA regulations are only slowly adapting to the new technologies. Further development of engineered T cell therapies requires advances in immunology, synthetic biology, manufacturing processes, and government regulation. In this review, we outline some of these challenges and discuss the contributions that pathologists can make to this emerging field.

  5. Synthetic biology in the view of European public funding organisations

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pei, Lei; Gaisser, Sibylle; Schmidt, Markus

    2012-01-01

    We analysed the decisions of major European public funding organisations to fund or not to fund synthetic biology (SB) and related ethical, legal and social implication (ELSI) studies. We investigated the reaction of public organisations in six countries (Austria, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland and the UK) towards SB that may influence SB’s further development in Europe. We examined R&D and ELSI communities and their particular funding situation. Our results show that the funding situation for SB varies considerably among the analysed countries, with the UK as the only country with an established funding scheme for R&D and ELSI that successfully integrates these research communities. Elsewhere, we determined a general lack of funding (France), difficulties in funding ELSI work (Switzerland), lack of an R&D community (Austria), too small ELSI communities (France, Switzerland, Netherlands), or difficulties in linking existing communities with available funding sources (Germany), partly due to an unclear SB definition. PMID:22586841

  6. Six recommendations on “Synthetic Biology & Intellectual Property Rights”

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Minssen, Timo; Rutz, Berthold; van Zimmeren, Esther

    2015-01-01

    In September 2014 the European Commission’s Scientific Committees published a Final Opinion, which defines synthetic biology (SB) as follows: “SynBio is the application of science, technology and engineering to facilitate and accelerate the design, manufacture and/or modification of genetic...... materials in living organisms”. This operational definition offered by the Scientific Committees is derived from a working understanding of SynBio as a collection of conceptual and technological advances. It is sufficiently broad to include new developments in the field and also addresses the need...... for a definition that enables risk assessment.In order to promote an adequate development of SB that will secure innovation and cooperation and prevent fragmentation, it is important to identify and assess new risks and other issues early on to enable scientists, industry, funding agencies and other stakeholders...

  7. Plant glyco-biotechnology on the way to synthetic biology

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Andreas eLoos

    2014-10-01

    Full Text Available Plants are increasingly being used for the production of recombinant proteins. One reason is that plants are highly amenable for glycan engineering processes and allow the production of therapeutic proteins with increased efficacies due to optimized glycosylation profiles. Removal and insertion of glycosylation reactions by knock-out/knock-down approaches and introduction of glycosylation enzymes have paved the way for the humanization of the plant glycosylation pathway. The insertion of heterologous enzymes at exactly the right stage of the existing glycosylation pathway has turned out to be of utmost importance for optimal results. To enable such precise targeting chimeric enzymes have been constructed. In this short review we will exemplify the importance of correct targeting of glycosyltransferases, we will give an overview of the targeting mechanism of glycosyltransferases, describe chimeric enzymes used in plant N-glycosylation engineering and illustrate how plant glycoengineering builds on the tools offered by synthetic biology to construct such chimeric enzymes.

  8. PGASO: A synthetic biology tool for engineering a cellulolytic yeast

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Chang Jui-Jen

    2012-07-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background To achieve an economical cellulosic ethanol production, a host that can do both cellulosic saccharification and ethanol fermentation is desirable. However, to engineer a non-cellulolytic yeast to be such a host requires synthetic biology techniques to transform multiple enzyme genes into its genome. Results A technique, named Promoter-based Gene Assembly and Simultaneous Overexpression (PGASO, that employs overlapping oligonucleotides for recombinatorial assembly of gene cassettes with individual promoters, was developed. PGASO was applied to engineer Kluyveromycesmarxianus KY3, which is a thermo- and toxin-tolerant yeast. We obtained a recombinant strain, called KR5, that is capable of simultaneously expressing exoglucanase and endoglucanase (both of Trichodermareesei, a beta-glucosidase (from a cow rumen fungus, a neomycin phosphotransferase, and a green fluorescent protein. High transformation efficiency and accuracy were achieved as ~63% of the transformants was confirmed to be correct. KR5 can utilize beta-glycan, cellobiose or CMC as the sole carbon source for growth and can directly convert cellobiose and beta-glycan to ethanol. Conclusions This study provides the first example of multi-gene assembly in a single step in a yeast species other than Saccharomyces cerevisiae. We successfully engineered a yeast host with a five-gene cassette assembly and the new host is capable of co-expressing three types of cellulase genes. Our study shows that PGASO is an efficient tool for simultaneous expression of multiple enzymes in the kefir yeast KY3 and that KY3 can serve as a host for developing synthetic biology tools.

  9. Challenges for the European governance of synthetic biology for human health

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Stemerding, D.; Douglas, C.

    2014-01-01

    Synthetic biology is a series of scientific and technological practices involved in the application of engineering principles to the design and production of predictable and robust biological systems. While policy discussions abound in this area, emerging technologies like synthetic biology present

  10. [Application of synthetic biology to sustainable utilization of Chinese materia medica resources].

    Science.gov (United States)

    Huang, Lu-Qi; Gao, Wei; Zhou, Yong-Jin

    2014-01-01

    Bioactive natural products are the material bases of Chinese materia medica resources. With successful applications of synthetic biology strategies to the researches and productions of taxol, artemisinin and tanshinone, etc, the potential ability of synthetic biology in the sustainable utilization of Chinese materia medica resources has been attracted by many researchers. This paper reviews the development of synthetic biology, the opportunities of sustainable utilization of Chinese materia medica resources, and the progress of synthetic biology applied to the researches of bioactive natural products. Furthermore, this paper also analyzes how to apply synthetic biology to sustainable utilization of Chinese materia medica resources and what the crucial factors are. Production of bioactive natural products with synthetic biology strategies will become a significant approach for the sustainable utilization of Chinese materia medica resources.

  11. Choosing organic pesticides over synthetic pesticides may not effectively mitigate environmental risk in soybeans.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Christine A Bahlai

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: Selection of pesticides with small ecological footprints is a key factor in developing sustainable agricultural systems. Policy guiding the selection of pesticides often emphasizes natural products and organic-certified pesticides to increase sustainability, because of the prevailing public opinion that natural products are uniformly safer, and thus more environmentally friendly, than synthetic chemicals. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: We report the results of a study examining the environmental impact of several new synthetic and certified organic insecticides under consideration as reduced-risk insecticides for soybean aphid (Aphis glycines control, using established and novel methodologies to directly quantify pesticide impact in terms of biocontrol services. We found that in addition to reduced efficacy against aphids compared to novel synthetic insecticides, organic approved insecticides had a similar or even greater negative impact on several natural enemy species in lab studies, were more detrimental to biological control organisms in field experiments, and had higher Environmental Impact Quotients at field use rates. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: These data bring into caution the widely held assumption that organic pesticides are more environmentally benign than synthetic ones. All pesticides must be evaluated using an empirically-based risk assessment, because generalizations based on chemical origin do not hold true in all cases.

  12. BrisSynBio: a BBSRC/EPSRC-funded Synthetic Biology Research Centre.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sedgley, Kathleen R; Race, Paul R; Woolfson, Derek N

    2016-06-15

    BrisSynBio is the Bristol-based Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC)/Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)-funded Synthetic Biology Research Centre. It is one of six such Centres in the U.K. BrisSynBio's emphasis is on rational and predictive bimolecular modelling, design and engineering in the context of synthetic biology. It trains the next generation of synthetic biologists in these approaches, to facilitate translation of fundamental synthetic biology research to industry and the clinic, and to do this within an innovative and responsible research framework. © 2016 The Author(s).

  13. METABOLIC MODELLING IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF CELL FACTORIES BY SYNTHETIC BIOLOGY

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Paula Jouhten

    2012-10-01

    Full Text Available Cell factories are commonly microbial organisms utilized for bioconversion of renewable resources to bulk or high value chemicals. Introduction of novel production pathways in chassis strains is the core of the development of cell factories by synthetic biology. Synthetic biology aims to create novel biological functions and systems not found in nature by combining biology with engineering. The workflow of the development of novel cell factories with synthetic biology is ideally linear which will be attainable with the quantitative engineering approach, high-quality predictive models, and libraries of well-characterized parts. Different types of metabolic models, mathematical representations of metabolism and its components, enzymes and metabolites, are useful in particular phases of the synthetic biology workflow. In this minireview, the role of metabolic modelling in synthetic biology will be discussed with a review of current status of compatible methods and models for the in silico design and quantitative evaluation of a cell factory.

  14. Synthetic Biology and the Search for Extraterrestrial Life

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rothschild, Lynn J.

    2015-01-01

    "Are we alone?" is one of the primary questions of astrobiology, and whose answer defines our significance in the universe. Unfortunately, this quest is hindered by the fact that we have only one confirmed example of life, that of earth. While this is enormously helpful in helping to define the minimum envelope for life, it strains credulity to imagine that life, if it arose multiple times, has not taken other routes. To help fill this gap, our lab has begun using synthetic biology - the design and construction of new biological parts and systems and the redesign of existing ones for useful purposes - as an enabling technology. One theme, the "Hell Cell" project, focuses on creating artificial extremophiles in order to push the limits for Earth life, and to understand how difficult it is for life to evolve into extreme niches. In another project, we are re-evolving biotic functions using only the most thermodynamically stable amino acids in order to understand potential capabilities of an early organism with a limited repertoire of amino acids.

  15. Synthetic Biology as an Enabling Technology for Space Exploration

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rothschild, Lynn J.

    2016-01-01

    Human exploration off planet is severely limited by the cost of launching materials into space and by re-supply. Thus materials brought from Earth must be light, stable and reliable at destination. Using traditional approaches, a lunar or Mars base would require either transporting a hefty store of metals or heavy manufacturing equipment and construction materials for in situ extraction; both would severely limit any other mission objectives. Long-term human space presence requires periodic replenishment, adding a massive cost overhead. Even robotic missions often sacrifice science goals for heavy radiation and thermal protection. Biology has the potential to solve these problems because life can replicate and repair itself, and perform a wide variety of chemical reactions including making food, fuel and materials. Synthetic biology enhances and expands life's evolved repertoire. Using organisms as feedstock, additive manufacturing through bioprinting will make possible the dream of producing bespoke tools, food, smart fabrics and even replacement organs on demand. This new approach and the resulting novel products will enable human exploration and settlement on Mars, while providing new manufacturing approaches for life on Earth.

  16. Evolving cell models for systems and synthetic biology.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cao, Hongqing; Romero-Campero, Francisco J; Heeb, Stephan; Cámara, Miguel; Krasnogor, Natalio

    2010-03-01

    This paper proposes a new methodology for the automated design of cell models for systems and synthetic biology. Our modelling framework is based on P systems, a discrete, stochastic and modular formal modelling language. The automated design of biological models comprising the optimization of the model structure and its stochastic kinetic constants is performed using an evolutionary algorithm. The evolutionary algorithm evolves model structures by combining different modules taken from a predefined module library and then it fine-tunes the associated stochastic kinetic constants. We investigate four alternative objective functions for the fitness calculation within the evolutionary algorithm: (1) equally weighted sum method, (2) normalization method, (3) randomly weighted sum method, and (4) equally weighted product method. The effectiveness of the methodology is tested on four case studies of increasing complexity including negative and positive autoregulation as well as two gene networks implementing a pulse generator and a bandwidth detector. We provide a systematic analysis of the evolutionary algorithm's results as well as of the resulting evolved cell models.

  17. Synthetic biology routes to bio-artificial intelligence.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nesbeth, Darren N; Zaikin, Alexey; Saka, Yasushi; Romano, M Carmen; Giuraniuc, Claudiu V; Kanakov, Oleg; Laptyeva, Tetyana

    2016-11-30

    The design of synthetic gene networks (SGNs) has advanced to the extent that novel genetic circuits are now being tested for their ability to recapitulate archetypal learning behaviours first defined in the fields of machine and animal learning. Here, we discuss the biological implementation of a perceptron algorithm for linear classification of input data. An expansion of this biological design that encompasses cellular 'teachers' and 'students' is also examined. We also discuss implementation of Pavlovian associative learning using SGNs and present an example of such a scheme and in silico simulation of its performance. In addition to designed SGNs, we also consider the option to establish conditions in which a population of SGNs can evolve diversity in order to better contend with complex input data. Finally, we compare recent ethical concerns in the field of artificial intelligence (AI) and the future challenges raised by bio-artificial intelligence (BI). © 2016 The Author(s). This is an open access article published by Portland Press Limited on behalf of the Biochemical Society and distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License 4.0 (CC BY).

  18. Biotechnology by Design: An Introductory Level, Project-Based, Synthetic Biology Laboratory Program for Undergraduate Students.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Beach, Dale L; Alvarez, Consuelo J

    2015-12-01

    Synthetic biology offers an ideal opportunity to promote undergraduate laboratory courses with research-style projects, immersing students in an inquiry-based program that enhances the experience of the scientific process. We designed a semester-long, project-based laboratory curriculum using synthetic biology principles to develop a novel sensory device. Students develop subject matter knowledge of molecular genetics and practical skills relevant to molecular biology, recombinant DNA techniques, and information literacy. During the spring semesters of 2014 and 2015, the Synthetic Biology Laboratory Project was delivered to sophomore genetics courses. Using a cloning strategy based on standardized BioBrick genetic "parts," students construct a "reporter plasmid" expressing a reporter gene (GFP) controlled by a hybrid promoter regulated by the lac-repressor protein (lacI). In combination with a "sensor plasmid," the production of the reporter phenotype is inhibited in the presence of a target environmental agent, arabinose. When arabinose is absent, constitutive GFP expression makes cells glow green. But the presence of arabinose activates a second promoter (pBAD) to produce a lac-repressor protein that will inhibit GFP production. Student learning was assessed relative to five learning objectives, using a student survey administered at the beginning (pre-survey) and end (post-survey) of the course, and an additional 15 open-ended questions from five graded Progress Report assignments collected throughout the course. Students demonstrated significant learning gains (p Biology Laboratory Project enhanced their understanding of molecular genetics. The laboratory project is highly adaptable for both introductory and advanced courses.

  19. Applications of cell-free protein synthesis in synthetic biology: Interfacing bio-machinery with synthetic environments.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lee, Kyung-Ho; Kim, Dong-Myung

    2013-11-01

    Synthetic biology is built on the synthesis, engineering, and assembly of biological parts. Proteins are the first components considered for the construction of systems with designed biological functions because proteins carry out most of the biological functions and chemical reactions inside cells. Protein synthesis is considered to comprise the most basic levels of the hierarchical structure of synthetic biology. Cell-free protein synthesis has emerged as a powerful technology that can potentially transform the concept of bioprocesses. With the ability to harness the synthetic power of biology without many of the constraints of cell-based systems, cell-free protein synthesis enables the rapid creation of protein molecules from diverse sources of genetic information. Cell-free protein synthesis is virtually free from the intrinsic constraints of cell-based methods and offers greater flexibility in system design and manipulability of biological synthetic machinery. Among its potential applications, cell-free protein synthesis can be combined with various man-made devices for rapid functional analysis of genomic sequences. This review covers recent efforts to integrate cell-free protein synthesis with various reaction devices and analytical platforms. Copyright © 2013 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim.

  20. Dynamics of problem setting and framing in citizen discussions on synthetic biology.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Betten, Afke Wieke; Broerse, Jacqueline E W; Kupper, Frank

    2018-04-01

    Synthetic biology is an emerging scientific field where engineers and biologists design and build biological systems for various applications. Developing synthetic biology responsibly in the public interest necessitates a meaningful societal dialogue. In this article, we argue that facilitating such a dialogue requires an understanding of how people make sense of synthetic biology. We performed qualitative research to unravel the underlying dynamics of problem setting and framing in citizen discussions on synthetic biology. We found that most people are not inherently for or against synthetic biology as a technology or development in itself, but that their perspectives are framed by core values about our relationships with science and technology and that sensemaking is much dependent on the context and general feelings of (dis)content. Given that there are many assumptions focused on a more binary idea of the public's view, we emphasize the need for frame awareness and understanding in a meaningful dialogue.

  1. Beyond Cost-Benefit Analysis in the Governance of Synthetic Biology.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wallach, Wendell; Saner, Marc; Marchant, Gary

    2018-01-01

    For many innovations, oversight fits nicely within existing governance mechanisms; nevertheless, others pose unique public health, environmental, and ethical challenges. Synthetic artemisinin, for example, has many precursors in laboratory-developed drugs that emulate natural forms of the same drug. The policy challenges posed by synthetic artemisinin do not differ significantly in kind from other laboratory-formulated drugs. Synthetic biofuels and gene drives, however, fit less clearly into existing governance structures. How many of the new categories of products require new forms of regulatory oversight, or at least extensive forms of testing, remains unclear. Any effort to improve the governance of synthetic biology should start with a rich understanding of the different possible science-policy interfaces that could help to inform governance. CBA falls into a subset of the overall range of possibilities, and which interface is appropriate may turn out to depend on context, on the demands of the decision at hand. In what follows, we lay out a typology of interfaces. After that, we turn to the question of how to draw upon the range of possible interfaces and effectively address the factual and moral complexities of emerging technologies. We propose a governance model built around structures that we call "governance coordinating committees." GCCs are intended to be mechanisms for accommodating the complexities of innovations that have far-ranging societal impacts. The production of biofuels, for example, could contaminate water supplies and have a destructive environmental impact if not managed correctly. The introduction of a gene drive could have economic and environmental impacts that are not restricted to one nation. Forging appropriate means for determining and evaluating those societal impacts, to the best of a corporation's, industry's, or government's ability, is central to responsible research and innovation. Public policy must be shaped in a manner that

  2. Interactive learning and action: realizing the promise of synthetic biology for global health

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Betten, A.W.; Roelofsen, A.; Broerse, J.E.W.

    2013-01-01

    The emerging field of synthetic biology has the potential to improve global health. For example, synthetic biology could contribute to efforts at vaccine development in a context in which vaccines and immunization have been identified by the international community as being crucial to international

  3. Yeast synthetic biology for the production of recombinant therapeutic proteins.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kim, Hyunah; Yoo, Su Jin; Kang, Hyun Ah

    2015-02-01

    The production of recombinant therapeutic proteins is one of the fast-growing areas of molecular medicine and currently plays an important role in treatment of several diseases. Yeasts are unicellular eukaryotic microbial host cells that offer unique advantages in producing biopharmaceutical proteins. Yeasts are capable of robust growth on simple media, readily accommodate genetic modifications, and incorporate typical eukaryotic post-translational modifications. Saccharomyces cerevisiae is a traditional baker's yeast that has been used as a major host for the production of biopharmaceuticals; however, several nonconventional yeast species including Hansenula polymorpha, Pichia pastoris, and Yarrowia lipolytica have gained increasing attention as alternative hosts for the industrial production of recombinant proteins. In this review, we address the established and emerging genetic tools and host strains suitable for recombinant protein production in various yeast expression systems, particularly focusing on current efforts toward synthetic biology approaches in developing yeast cell factories for the production of therapeutic recombinant proteins. © FEMS 2015. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: journals.permission@oup.com.

  4. [New materia medica project: synthetic biology based bioactive metabolites research in medicinal plant].

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wang, Yong

    2017-03-25

    In the last decade, synthetic biology research has been gradually transited from monocellular parts or devices toward more complex multicellular systems. The emerging plant synthetic biology is regarded as the "next chapter" of synthetic biology. The complex and diverse plant metabolism as the entry point, plant synthetic biology research not only helps us understand how real life is working, but also facilitates us to learn how to design and construct more complex artificial life. Bioactive compounds innovation and large-scale production are expected to be breakthrough with the redesigned plant metabolism as well. In this review, we discuss the research progress in plant synthetic biology and propose the new materia medica project to lift the level of traditional Chinese herbal medicine research.

  5. Potential environmental benefits from regulatory consideration of synthetic drilling muds

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Burke, C.J.; Veil, J.A.

    1995-02-01

    When drilling exploration and production wells for oil and gas, drillers use specialized drilling fluids, referred to as muds, to help maintain well control and to remove drill cuttings from the hole. Historically, either water-based muds (WBMs) or oil-based muds (OBMs) have been used for offshore wells. Recently, in response to US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations and drilling-waste discharge requirements imposed by North Sea nations, the drilling industry has developed several types of synthetic-based muds (SBMs) that combine the desirable operating qualities of OBMs with the lower toxicity and environmental impact qualities of WBMs. This report describes the operational, environmental, and economic features of all three types of muds and discusses potential EPA regulatory barriers to wider use of SBMs

  6. Beyond patchwork precaution in the dual-use governance of synthetic biology.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kelle, Alexander

    2013-09-01

    The emergence of synthetic biology holds the potential of a major breakthrough in the life sciences by transforming biology into a predictive science. The dual-use characteristics of similar breakthroughs during the twentieth century have led to the application of benignly intended research in e.g. virology, bacteriology and aerobiology in offensive biological weapons programmes. Against this background the article raises the question whether the precautionary governance of synthetic biology can aid in preventing this techno-science witnessing the same fate? In order to address this question, this paper proceeds in four steps: it firstly introduces the emerging techno-science of synthetic biology and presents some of its potential beneficial applications. It secondly analyses contributions to the bioethical discourse on synthetic biology as well as precautionary reasoning and its application to life science research in general and synthetic biology more specifically. The paper then identifies manifestations of a moderate precautionary principle in the emerging synthetic biology dual-use governance discourse. Using a dual-use governance matrix as heuristic device to analyse some of the proposed measures, it concludes that the identified measures can best be described as "patchwork precaution" and that a more systematic approach to construct a web of dual-use precaution for synthetic biology is needed in order to guard more effectively against the field's future misuse for harmful applications.

  7. pClone: Synthetic Biology Tool Makes Promoter Research Accessible to Beginning Biology Students

    Science.gov (United States)

    Eckdahl, Todd; Cronk, Brian; Andresen, Corinne; Frederick, Paul; Huckuntod, Samantha; Shinneman, Claire; Wacker, Annie; Yuan, Jason

    2014-01-01

    The Vision and Change report recommended genuine research experiences for undergraduate biology students. Authentic research improves science education, increases the number of scientifically literate citizens, and encourages students to pursue research. Synthetic biology is well suited for undergraduate research and is a growing area of science. We developed a laboratory module called pClone that empowers students to use advances in molecular cloning methods to discover new promoters for use by synthetic biologists. Our educational goals are consistent with Vision and Change and emphasize core concepts and competencies. pClone is a family of three plasmids that students use to clone a new transcriptional promoter or mutate a canonical promoter and measure promoter activity in Escherichia coli. We also developed the Registry of Functional Promoters, an open-access database of student promoter research results. Using pre- and posttests, we measured significant learning gains among students using pClone in introductory biology and genetics classes. Student posttest scores were significantly better than scores of students who did not use pClone. pClone is an easy and affordable mechanism for large-enrollment labs to meet the high standards of Vision and Change. PMID:26086659

  8. Synthetic Self-Assembled Materials in Biological Environments

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Versluis, F.; van Esch, J.H.; Eelkema, R.

    2016-01-01

    Synthetic self-assembly has long been recognized as an excellent approach for the formation of ordered structures on the nanoscale. Although the development of synthetic self-assembling materials has often been inspired by principles observed in nature (e.g., the assembly of lipids, DNA,

  9. Life by design: Philosophical perspectives on synthetic biology

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Bensaude Vincent Bernadette

    2015-01-01

    This paper outlines a number of distinctive features of this emerging field in the constellation of bionanotechnologies. It then insists on the variety of research agendas and strategies gathered under the umbrella “synthetic biology”. While redesigning life is the central goal, synthetic biologists do not develop a uniform view of living organisms.

  10. Bacterial genome engineering and synthetic biology: combating pathogens.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Krishnamurthy, Malathy; Moore, Richard T; Rajamani, Sathish; Panchal, Rekha G

    2016-11-04

    The emergence and prevalence of multidrug resistant (MDR) pathogenic bacteria poses a serious threat to human and animal health globally. Nosocomial infections and common ailments such as pneumonia, wound, urinary tract, and bloodstream infections are becoming more challenging to treat due to the rapid spread of MDR pathogenic bacteria. According to recent reports by the World Health Organization (WHO) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there is an unprecedented increase in the occurrence of MDR infections worldwide. The rise in these infections has generated an economic strain worldwide, prompting the WHO to endorse a global action plan to improve awareness and understanding of antimicrobial resistance. This health crisis necessitates an immediate action to target the underlying mechanisms of drug resistance in bacteria. The advent of new bacterial genome engineering and synthetic biology (SB) tools is providing promising diagnostic and treatment plans to monitor and treat widespread recalcitrant bacterial infections. Key advances in genetic engineering approaches can successfully aid in targeting and editing pathogenic bacterial genomes for understanding and mitigating drug resistance mechanisms. In this review, we discuss the application of specific genome engineering and SB methods such as recombineering, clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR), and bacterial cell-cell signaling mechanisms for pathogen targeting. The utility of these tools in developing antibacterial strategies such as novel antibiotic production, phage therapy, diagnostics and vaccine production to name a few, are also highlighted. The prevalent use of antibiotics and the spread of MDR bacteria raise the prospect of a post-antibiotic era, which underscores the need for developing novel therapeutics to target MDR pathogens. The development of enabling SB technologies offers promising solutions to deliver safe and effective antibacterial therapies.

  11. Biotechnology by Design: An Introductory Level, Project-Based, Synthetic Biology Laboratory Program for Undergraduate Students†

    OpenAIRE

    Beach, Dale L.; Alvarez, Consuelo J.

    2015-01-01

    Synthetic biology offers an ideal opportunity to promote undergraduate laboratory courses with research-style projects, immersing students in an inquiry-based program that enhances the experience of the scientific process. We designed a semester-long, project-based laboratory curriculum using synthetic biology principles to develop a novel sensory device. Students develop subject matter knowledge of molecular genetics and practical skills relevant to molecular biology, recombinant DNA techniq...

  12. Synthetic biology in the UK - An outline of plans and progress.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Clarke, L J; Kitney, R I

    2016-12-01

    Synthetic biology is capable of delivering new solutions to key challenges spanning the bioeconomy, both nationally and internationally. Recognising this significant potential and the associated need to facilitate its translation and commercialisation the UK government commissioned the production of a national Synthetic Biology Roadmap in 2011, and subsequently provided crucial support to assist its implementation. Critical infrastructural investments have been made, and important strides made towards the development of an effectively connected community of practitioners and interest groups. A number of Synthetic Biology Research Centres, DNA Synthesis Foundries, a Centre for Doctoral Training, and an Innovation Knowledge Centre have been established, creating a nationally distributed and integrated network of complementary facilities and expertise. The UK Synthetic Biology Leadership Council published a UK Synthetic Biology Strategic Plan in 2016, increasing focus on the processes of translation and commercialisation. Over 50 start-ups, SMEs and larger companies are actively engaged in synthetic biology in the UK, and inward investments are starting to flow. Together these initiatives provide an important foundation for stimulating innovation, actively contributing to international research and development partnerships, and helping deliver useful benefits from synthetic biology in response to local and global needs and challenges.

  13. Synthetic Biology and the U.S. Biotechnology Regulatory System: Challenges and Options

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Carter, Sarah R. [J. Craig Venter Inst., Rockville, MD (United States); Rodemeyer, Michael [Univ. of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA (United States); Garfinkel, Michele S. [EMBO, Heidelberg (Germany); Friedman, Robert M. [J. Craig Venter Inst., Rockville, MD (United States)

    2014-05-01

    Synthetic Biology and the U.S. Biotechnology Regulatory System: Challenges and Options Sarah R. Carter, Ph.D., J. Craig Venter Institute; Michael Rodemeyer, J.D., University of Virginia; Michele S. Garfinkel, Ph.D., EMBO; Robert M. Friedman, Ph.D., J. Craig Venter Institute In recent years, a range of genetic engineering techniques referred to as “synthetic biology” has significantly expanded the tool kit available to scientists and engineers, providing them with far greater capabilities to engineer organisms than previous techniques allowed. The field of synthetic biology includes the relatively new ability to synthesize long pieces of DNA from chemicals, as well as improved methods for genetic manipulation and design of genetic pathways to achieve more precise control of biological systems. These advances will help usher in a new generation of genetically engineered microbes, plants, and animals. The JCVI Policy Center team, along with researchers at the University of Virginia and EMBO, examined how well the current U.S. regulatory system for genetically engineered products will handle the near-term introduction of organisms engineered using synthetic biology. In particular, the focus was on those organisms intended to be used or grown directly in the environment, outside of a contained facility. The study concludes that the U.S. regulatory agencies have adequate legal authority to address most, but not all, potential environmental, health and safety concerns posed by these organisms. Such near-term products are likely to represent incremental changes rather than a marked departure from previous genetically engineered organisms. However, the study also identified two key challenges for the regulatory system, which are detailed in the report. First, USDA’s authority over genetically engineered plants depends on the use of an older engineering technique that is no longer necessary for many applications. The shift to synthetic biology and other newer genetic

  14. Communicating Synthetic Biology: from the lab via the media to the broader public.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kronberger, Nicole; Holtz, Peter; Kerbe, Wolfgang; Strasser, Ewald; Wagner, Wolfgang

    2009-12-01

    We present insights from a study on communicating Synthetic Biology conducted in 2008. Scientists were invited to write press releases on their work; the resulting texts were passed on to four journalists from major Austrian newspapers and magazines. The journalists in turn wrote articles that were used as stimulus material for eight group discussions with select members of the Austrian public. The results show that, from the lab via the media to the general public, communication is characterized by two important tendencies: first, communication becomes increasingly focused on concrete applications of Synthetic Biology; and second, biotechnology represents an important benchmark against which Synthetic Biology is being evaluated.

  15. A Powerful Toolkit for Synthetic Biology: Over 3.8 Billion Years of Evolution

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rothschild, Lynn J.

    2010-01-01

    The combination of evolutionary with engineering principles will enhance synthetic biology. Conversely, synthetic biology has the potential to enrich evolutionary biology by explaining why some adaptive space is empty, on Earth or elsewhere. Synthetic biology, the design and construction of artificial biological systems, substitutes bio-engineering for evolution, which is seen as an obstacle. But because evolution has produced the complexity and diversity of life, it provides a proven toolkit of genetic materials and principles available to synthetic biology. Evolution operates on the population level, with the populations composed of unique individuals that are historical entities. The source of genetic novelty includes mutation, gene regulation, sex, symbiosis, and interspecies gene transfer. At a phenotypic level, variation derives from regulatory control, replication and diversification of components, compartmentalization, sexual selection and speciation, among others. Variation is limited by physical constraints such as diffusion, and chemical constraints such as reaction rates and membrane fluidity. While some of these tools of evolution are currently in use in synthetic biology, all ought to be examined for utility. A hybrid approach of synthetic biology coupled with fine-tuning through evolution is suggested

  16. Engineering a palette of eukaryotic chromoproteins for bacterial synthetic biology.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Liljeruhm, Josefine; Funk, Saskia K; Tietscher, Sandra; Edlund, Anders D; Jamal, Sabri; Wistrand-Yuen, Pikkei; Dyrhage, Karl; Gynnå, Arvid; Ivermark, Katarina; Lövgren, Jessica; Törnblom, Viktor; Virtanen, Anders; Lundin, Erik R; Wistrand-Yuen, Erik; Forster, Anthony C

    2018-01-01

    Coral reefs are colored by eukaryotic chromoproteins (CPs) that are homologous to green fluorescent protein. CPs differ from fluorescent proteins (FPs) by intensely absorbing visible light to give strong colors in ambient light. This endows CPs with certain advantages over FPs, such as instrument-free detection uncomplicated by ultra-violet light damage or background fluorescence, efficient Förster resonance energy transfer (FRET) quenching, and photoacoustic imaging. Thus, CPs have found utility as genetic markers and in teaching, and are attractive for potential cell biosensor applications in the field. Most near-term applications of CPs require expression in a different domain of life: bacteria. However, it is unclear which of the eukaryotic CP genes might be suitable and how best to assay them. Here, taking advantage of codon optimization programs in 12 cases, we engineered 14 CP sequences (meffRed, eforRed, asPink, spisPink, scOrange, fwYellow, amilGFP, amajLime, cjBlue, meffBlue, aeBlue, amilCP, tsPurple and gfasPurple) into a palette of Escherichia coli BioBrick plasmids. BioBricks comply with synthetic biology's most widely used, simplified, cloning standard. Differences in color intensities, maturation times and fitness costs of expression were compared under the same conditions, and visible readout of gene expression was quantitated. A surprisingly large variation in cellular fitness costs was found, resulting in loss of color in some overnight liquid cultures of certain high-copy-plasmid-borne CPs, and cautioning the use of multiple CPs as markers in competition assays. We solved these two problems by integrating pairs of these genes into the chromosome and by engineering versions of the same CP with very different colors. Availability of 14 engineered CP genes compared in E. coli , together with chromosomal mutants suitable for competition assays, should simplify and expand CP study and applications. There was no single plasmid-borne CP that combined

  17. On Beyond Star Trek, the Role of Synthetic Biology in Nasa's Missions

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rothschild, Lynn J.

    2016-01-01

    The time has come to for NASA to exploit the nascent field of synthetic biology in pursuit of its mission, including aeronautics, earth science, astrobiology and notably, human exploration. Conversely, NASA advances the fundamental technology of synthetic biology as no one else can because of its unique expertise in the origin of life and life in extreme environments, including the potential for alternate life forms. This enables unique, creative "game changing" advances. NASA's requirement for minimizing upmass in flight will also drive the field toward miniaturization and automation. These drivers will greatly increase the utility of synthetic biology solutions for military, health in remote areas and commercial purposes. To this end, we have begun a program at NASA to explore the use of synthetic biology in NASA's missions, particularly space exploration. As part of this program, we began hosting an iGEM team of undergraduates drawn from Brown and Stanford Universities to conduct synthetic biology research at NASA Ames Research Center. The 2011 team (http://2011.igem.org/Team:Brown-Stanford) produced an award-winning project on using synthetic biology as a basis for a human Mars settlement and the 2012 team has expanded the use of synthetic biology to estimate the potential for life in the clouds of other planets (http://2012.igem.org/Team:Stanford-Brown; http://www.calacademy.org/sciencetoday/igem-competition/). More recent projects from the Stanford-Brown team have expanded our ideas of how synthetic biology can aid NASA's missions from "Synthetic BioCommunication" (http://2013.igem.org/Team:Stanford-Brown) to a "Biodegradable UAS (drone)" in collaboration with Spelman College (http://2014.igem.org/Team:StanfordBrownSpelman#SBS%20iGEM) and most recently, "Self-Folding Origami" (http://2015.igem.org/Team:Stanford-Brown), the winner of the 2015 award for Manufacturing.

  18. A methodology to annotate systems biology markup language models with the synthetic biology open language.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Roehner, Nicholas; Myers, Chris J

    2014-02-21

    Recently, we have begun to witness the potential of synthetic biology, noted here in the form of bacteria and yeast that have been genetically engineered to produce biofuels, manufacture drug precursors, and even invade tumor cells. The success of these projects, however, has often failed in translation and application to new projects, a problem exacerbated by a lack of engineering standards that combine descriptions of the structure and function of DNA. To address this need, this paper describes a methodology to connect the systems biology markup language (SBML) to the synthetic biology open language (SBOL), existing standards that describe biochemical models and DNA components, respectively. Our methodology involves first annotating SBML model elements such as species and reactions with SBOL DNA components. A graph is then constructed from the model, with vertices corresponding to elements within the model and edges corresponding to the cause-and-effect relationships between these elements. Lastly, the graph is traversed to assemble the annotating DNA components into a composite DNA component, which is used to annotate the model itself and can be referenced by other composite models and DNA components. In this way, our methodology can be used to build up a hierarchical library of models annotated with DNA components. Such a library is a useful input to any future genetic technology mapping algorithm that would automate the process of composing DNA components to satisfy a behavioral specification. Our methodology for SBML-to-SBOL annotation is implemented in the latest version of our genetic design automation (GDA) software tool, iBioSim.

  19. A collective review of biological versus synthetic mesh-reinforced cruroplasty during laparoscopic Nissen fundoplication

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    P S S Castelijns

    2018-01-01

    Conclusion: Mesh reinforcement of hiatal hernia repair seems safe in the short-term follow-up. The available literature suggests no clear advantage of biological over synthetic meshes. Regarding cost-efficiency and short-term results, the use of synthetic nonabsorbable meshes might be advocated.

  20. Synthetic biology and conservation of nature: wicked problems and wicked solutions.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Redford, Kent H; Adams, William; Mace, Georgina M

    2013-01-01

    So far, conservation scientists have paid little attention to synthetic biology; this is unfortunate as the technology is likely to transform the operating space within which conservation functions, and therefore the prospects for maintaining biodiversity into the future.

  1. A Synthetic Biology Tool Kit for Manned Missions Outside Low Earth Orbit

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration — Our goal is to make human missions outside low earth orbit safer and better able to handle the unexpected through the use of synthetic biology as an enabling...

  2. Synthetic biology in the UK – An outline of plans and progress

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    L.J. Clarke

    2016-12-01

    Together these initiatives provide an important foundation for stimulating innovation, actively contributing to international research and development partnerships, and helping deliver useful benefits from synthetic biology in response to local and global needs and challenges.

  3. Computational protein design-the next generation tool to expand synthetic biology applications.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gainza-Cirauqui, Pablo; Correia, Bruno Emanuel

    2018-05-02

    One powerful approach to engineer synthetic biology pathways is the assembly of proteins sourced from one or more natural organisms. However, synthetic pathways often require custom functions or biophysical properties not displayed by natural proteins, limitations that could be overcome through modern protein engineering techniques. Structure-based computational protein design is a powerful tool to engineer new functional capabilities in proteins, and it is beginning to have a profound impact in synthetic biology. Here, we review efforts to increase the capabilities of synthetic biology using computational protein design. We focus primarily on computationally designed proteins not only validated in vitro, but also shown to modulate different activities in living cells. Efforts made to validate computational designs in cells can illustrate both the challenges and opportunities in the intersection of protein design and synthetic biology. We also highlight protein design approaches, which although not validated as conveyors of new cellular function in situ, may have rapid and innovative applications in synthetic biology. We foresee that in the near-future, computational protein design will vastly expand the functional capabilities of synthetic cells. Copyright © 2018. Published by Elsevier Ltd.

  4. A systematic design method for robust synthetic biology to satisfy design specifications.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chen, Bor-Sen; Wu, Chih-Hung

    2009-06-30

    Synthetic biology is foreseen to have important applications in biotechnology and medicine, and is expected to contribute significantly to a better understanding of the functioning of complex biological systems. However, the development of synthetic gene networks is still difficult and most newly created gene networks are non-functioning due to intrinsic parameter uncertainties, external disturbances and functional variations of intra- and extra-cellular environments. The design method for a robust synthetic gene network that works properly in a host cell under these intrinsic parameter uncertainties and external disturbances is the most important topic in synthetic biology. In this study, we propose a stochastic model that includes parameter fluctuations and external disturbances to mimic the dynamic behaviors of a synthetic gene network in the host cell. Then, based on this stochastic model, four design specifications are introduced to guarantee that a synthetic gene network can achieve its desired steady state behavior in spite of parameter fluctuations, external disturbances and functional variations in the host cell. We propose a systematic method to select a set of appropriate design parameters for a synthetic gene network that will satisfy these design specifications so that the intrinsic parameter fluctuations can be tolerated, the external disturbances can be efficiently filtered, and most importantly, the desired steady states can be achieved. Thus the synthetic gene network can work properly in a host cell under intrinsic parameter uncertainties, external disturbances and functional variations. Finally, a design procedure for the robust synthetic gene network is developed and a design example is given in silico to confirm the performance of the proposed method. Based on four design specifications, a systematic design procedure is developed for designers to engineer a robust synthetic biology network that can achieve its desired steady state behavior

  5. Biological Environmental Sampling Technologies Assessment

    Science.gov (United States)

    2015-12-01

    modular set of aerosol detector, collector, and identifier components. Before the award, the JBTDS program office engaged its combat developers and...collection and identification processes are not integrated into one unit. Concern was also expressed regarding operation of the smartphone -based Biomeme one3...DESCRIPTION (JBTDS) The Joint Biological Tactical Detection System (JBTDS) will be employed as a modular set of capabilities (detector, collector, and

  6. Biological activity and toxicitiy of imported and synthetic metal ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    ... of green alga Scendesmus obliquus. The toxicity of surfactants to Scendesmus obliquus are arranged in the order: imported fluid > Synthetic fluid > S+ D > I+A> S+B> I+ C> I+B > I+D > I+D >S+A > I+4. These results prove that, the toxicity of fluids depends on its chemical structure. Egyptian Journal of Biotechnology Vol.

  7. Promoting microbiology education through the iGEM synthetic biology competition.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kelwick, Richard; Bowater, Laura; Yeoman, Kay H; Bowater, Richard P

    2015-08-01

    Synthetic biology has developed rapidly in the 21st century. It covers a range of scientific disciplines that incorporate principles from engineering to take advantage of and improve biological systems, often applied to specific problems. Methods important in this subject area include the systematic design and testing of biological systems and, here, we describe how synthetic biology projects frequently develop microbiology skills and education. Synthetic biology research has huge potential in biotechnology and medicine, which brings important ethical and moral issues to address, offering learning opportunities about the wider impact of microbiological research. Synthetic biology projects have developed into wide-ranging training and educational experiences through iGEM, the International Genetically Engineered Machines competition. Elements of the competition are judged against specific criteria and teams can win medals and prizes across several categories. Collaboration is an important element of iGEM, and all DNA constructs synthesized by iGEM teams are made available to all researchers through the Registry for Standard Biological Parts. An overview of microbiological developments in the iGEM competition is provided. This review is targeted at educators that focus on microbiology and synthetic biology, but will also be of value to undergraduate and postgraduate students with an interest in this exciting subject area. © FEMS 2015. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: journals.permissions@oup.com.

  8. 75 FR 6651 - Biological and Environmental Research Advisory Committee

    Science.gov (United States)

    2010-02-10

    ... DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Biological and Environmental Research Advisory Committee AGENCY: Department... meeting of the Biological and Environmental Research Advisory Committee (BERAC). Federal Advisory.... Department of Energy, Office of Science, Office of Biological and Environmental Research, SC-23/Germantown...

  9. 77 FR 4028 - Biological and Environmental Research Advisory Committee

    Science.gov (United States)

    2012-01-26

    ... DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Biological and Environmental Research Advisory Committee AGENCY: Department... meeting of the Biological and Environmental Research Advisory Committee (BERAC). The Federal Advisory.... Department of Energy, Office of Science, Office of Biological and Environmental Research, SC-23/Germantown...

  10. Quantification of biologically effective environmental UV irradiance

    Science.gov (United States)

    Horneck, G.

    To determine the impact of environmental UV radiation on human health and ecosystems demands monitoring systems that weight the spectral irradiance according to the biological responses under consideration. In general, there are three different approaches to quantify a biologically effective solar irradiance: (i) weighted spectroradiometry where the biologically weighted radiometric quantities are derived from spectral data by multiplication with an action spectrum of a relevant photobiological reaction, e.g. erythema, DNA damage, skin cancer, reduced productivity of terrestrial plants and aquatic foodweb; (ii) wavelength integrating chemical-based or physical dosimetric systems with spectral sensitivities similar to a biological response curve; and (iii) biological dosimeters that directly weight the incident UV components of sunlight in relation to the effectiveness of the different wavelengths and to interactions between them. Most biological dosimeters, such as bacteria, bacteriophages, or biomolecules, are based on the UV sensitivity of DNA. If precisely characterized, biological dosimeters are applicable as field and personal dosimeters.

  11. Synthetic biology approaches in cancer immunotherapy, genetic network engineering, and genome editing.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chakravarti, Deboki; Cho, Jang Hwan; Weinberg, Benjamin H; Wong, Nicole M; Wong, Wilson W

    2016-04-18

    Investigations into cells and their contents have provided evolving insight into the emergence of complex biological behaviors. Capitalizing on this knowledge, synthetic biology seeks to manipulate the cellular machinery towards novel purposes, extending discoveries from basic science to new applications. While these developments have demonstrated the potential of building with biological parts, the complexity of cells can pose numerous challenges. In this review, we will highlight the broad and vital role that the synthetic biology approach has played in applying fundamental biological discoveries in receptors, genetic circuits, and genome-editing systems towards translation in the fields of immunotherapy, biosensors, disease models and gene therapy. These examples are evidence of the strength of synthetic approaches, while also illustrating considerations that must be addressed when developing systems around living cells.

  12. Societal Risk Evaluation Scheme (SRES: Scenario-Based Multi-Criteria Evaluation of Synthetic Biology Applications.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Christopher L Cummings

    Full Text Available Synthetic biology (SB applies engineering principles to biology for the construction of novel biological systems designed for useful purposes. From an oversight perspective, SB products come with significant uncertainty. Yet there is a need to anticipate and prepare for SB applications before deployment. This study develops a Societal Risk Evaluation Scheme (SRES in order to advance methods for anticipatory governance of emerging technologies such as SB. The SRES is based upon societal risk factors that were identified as important through a policy Delphi study. These factors range from those associated with traditional risk assessment, such as health and environmental consequences, to broader features of risk such as those associated with reversibility, manageability, anticipated levels of public concern, and uncertainty. A multi-disciplinary panel with diverse perspectives and affiliations assessed four case studies of SB using the SRES. Rankings of the SRES components are compared within and across the case studies. From these comparisons, we found levels of controllability and familiarity associated with the cases to be important for overall SRES rankings. From a theoretical standpoint, this study illustrates the applicability of the psychometric paradigm to evaluating SB cases. In addition, our paper describes how the SRES can be incorporated into anticipatory governance models as a screening tool to prioritize research, information collection, and dialogue in the face of the limited capacity of governance systems. To our knowledge, this is the first study to elicit data on specific cases of SB with the goal of developing theory and tools for risk governance.

  13. Deciphering the language between biological and synthetic materials

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Paolo A. Netti

    2014-06-01

    Full Text Available Chemical signals propagating through aqueous environment are at the basis of the language utilized by living systems to exchange information. In the last years, molecular biology has partly disclosed the grammar and the syntax of this complex language revealing the fascinating world of molecular communication that is the foundation of biological development.

  14. Experiential Engineering through iGEM--An Undergraduate Summer Competition in Synthetic Biology

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mitchell, Rudolph; Dori, Yehudit Judy; Kuldell, Natalie H.

    2011-01-01

    Unlike students in other engineering disciplines, undergraduates in biological engineering typically have limited opportunity to develop design competencies, and even fewer chances to implement their designed projects. The international Genetically Engineered Machines (iGEM) competition is a student Synthetic Biology competition that, in 2009,…

  15. Advanced Drug Delivery Systems - a Synthetic and Biological Applied Evaluation

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Bjerg, Lise Nørkjær

    function as the targeting moiety on the surface of the liposomes. Several examples of synthetic procedures known from the literature are presented. The chapter is completed with a study covering the conjugation efficiencies of a variety of chemical functionalities. Large differences are revealed between...... to guide the uptake, in addition to an enzymatically cleavable peptide sequence, whose cleavage would result in removal of the polymer layer as well as uncovering cationic charges on the liposomal surface. These systems were shown to have superior drug efficacy in vitro....

  16. Synthetic biology in mammalian cells: Next generation research tools and therapeutics

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lienert, Florian; Lohmueller, Jason J; Garg, Abhishek; Silver, Pamela A

    2014-01-01

    Recent progress in DNA manipulation and gene circuit engineering has greatly improved our ability to programme and probe mammalian cell behaviour. These advances have led to a new generation of synthetic biology research tools and potential therapeutic applications. Programmable DNA-binding domains and RNA regulators are leading to unprecedented control of gene expression and elucidation of gene function. Rebuilding complex biological circuits such as T cell receptor signalling in isolation from their natural context has deepened our understanding of network motifs and signalling pathways. Synthetic biology is also leading to innovative therapeutic interventions based on cell-based therapies, protein drugs, vaccines and gene therapies. PMID:24434884

  17. The path to next generation biofuels: successes and challenges in the era of synthetic biology

    Science.gov (United States)

    2010-01-01

    Volatility of oil prices along with major concerns about climate change, oil supply security and depleting reserves have sparked renewed interest in the production of fuels from renewable resources. Recent advances in synthetic biology provide new tools for metabolic engineers to direct their strategies and construct optimal biocatalysts for the sustainable production of biofuels. Metabolic engineering and synthetic biology efforts entailing the engineering of native and de novo pathways for conversion of biomass constituents to short-chain alcohols and advanced biofuels are herewith reviewed. In the foreseeable future, formal integration of functional genomics and systems biology with synthetic biology and metabolic engineering will undoubtedly support the discovery, characterization, and engineering of new metabolic routes and more efficient microbial systems for the production of biofuels. PMID:20089184

  18. Application of synthetic biology for production of chemicals in yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Borodina, Irina; Li, Mingji

    2015-01-01

    Synthetic biology and metabolic engineering enable generation of novel cell factories that efficiently convert renewable feedstocks into biofuels, bulk, and fine chemicals, thus creating the basis for biosustainable economy independent on fossil resources. While over a hundred proof...... biology has the potential to bring down this cost by improving our ability to predictably engineer biological systems. This review highlights synthetic biology applications for design, assembly, and optimization of non-native biochemical pathways in baker's yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. We describe......-of-concept chemicals have been made in yeast, only a very small fraction of those has reached commercial-scale production so far. The limiting factor is the high research cost associated with the development of a robust cell factory that can produce the desired chemical at high titer, rate, and yield. Synthetic...

  19. Ambivalences of creating life societal and philosophical dimensions of synthetic biology

    CERN Document Server

    Engelhard, Margret; Toepfer, Georg

    2016-01-01

    "Synthetic biology" is the label of a new technoscientific field with many different facets and agendas. One common aim is to "create life", primarily by using engineering principles to design and modify biological systems for human use. In a wider context, the topic has become one of the big cases in the legitimization processes associated with the political agenda to solve global problems with the aid of (bio-)technological innovation. Conceptual-level and meta-level analyses are needed: we should sort out conceptual ambiguities to agree on what we talk about, and we need to spell out agendas to see the disagreements clearly. The book is based on the interdisciplinary summer school "Analyzing the societal dimensions of synthetic biology", which took place in Berlin in September 2014. The contributions address controversial discussions around the philosophical examination, public perception, moral evaluation and governance of synthetic biology.

  20. Crucible: A System for Space Synthetic Biology Experiments

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration — The goal of this project is to expand the capability and methodologies in experimental extreme biology as a step towards Martian ecopoiesis. The objectives in...

  1. Synthetic Approaches and Biological Activities of 4-Hydroxycoumarin Derivatives

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Oee-Sook Park

    2009-11-01

    Full Text Available The main purpose of this review is to summarize recent chemical syntheses and structural modifications of 4-hydroxycoumarin and its derivatives, of interest due to their characteristic conjugated molecular architecture and biological activities.

  2. Synthetic biology and molecular genetics in non-conventional yeasts: Current tools and future advances.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wagner, James M; Alper, Hal S

    2016-04-01

    Coupling the tools of synthetic biology with traditional molecular genetic techniques can enable the rapid prototyping and optimization of yeast strains. While the era of yeast synthetic biology began in the well-characterized model organism Saccharomyces cerevisiae, it is swiftly expanding to include non-conventional yeast production systems such as Hansenula polymorpha, Kluyveromyces lactis, Pichia pastoris, and Yarrowia lipolytica. These yeasts already have roles in the manufacture of vaccines, therapeutic proteins, food additives, and biorenewable chemicals, but recent synthetic biology advances have the potential to greatly expand and diversify their impact on biotechnology. In this review, we summarize the development of synthetic biological tools (including promoters and terminators) and enabling molecular genetics approaches that have been applied in these four promising alternative biomanufacturing platforms. An emphasis is placed on synthetic parts and genome editing tools. Finally, we discuss examples of synthetic tools developed in other organisms that can be adapted or optimized for these hosts in the near future. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  3. Thiosemicarbazones: preparation methods, synthetic applications and biological importance

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Tenorio, Romulo P.; Goes, Alexandre J.S.; Lima, Jose G. de; Faria, Antonio R. de; Alves, Antonio J.; Aquino, Thiago M. de

    2005-01-01

    Thiosemicarbazones are a class of compounds known by their chemical and biological properties, such as antitumor, antibacterial, antiviral and antiprotozoal activity. Their ability to form chelates with metals has great importance in their biological activities. Their synthesis is very simple, versatile and clean, usually giving high yields. They are largely employed as intermediates, in the synthesis of others compounds. This article is a survey of some of these characteristics showing their great importance to organic and medicinal chemistry. (author)

  4. Practical Statistics for Environmental and Biological Scientists

    CERN Document Server

    Townend, John

    2012-01-01

    All students and researchers in environmental and biological sciences require statistical methods at some stage of their work. Many have a preconception that statistics are difficult and unpleasant and find that the textbooks available are difficult to understand. Practical Statistics for Environmental and Biological Scientists provides a concise, user-friendly, non-technical introduction to statistics. The book covers planning and designing an experiment, how to analyse and present data, and the limitations and assumptions of each statistical method. The text does not refer to a specific comp

  5. Automated radiofrequency-based US measurement of common carotid intima-media thickness in RA patients treated with synthetic vs synthetic and biologic DMARDs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Naredo, Esperanza; Möller, Ingrid; Corrales, Alfonso; Bong, David A; Cobo-Ibáñez, Tatiana; Corominas, Hector; Garcia-Vivar, Ma Luz; Macarrón, Pilar; Navio, Teresa; Richi, Patricia; Iagnocco, Annamaria; Garrido, Jesús; Martínez-Hernández, David

    2013-02-01

    To compare the carotid intima-media thickness (IMT) assessed with automated radiofrequency-based US in RA patients treated with synthetic vs synthetic and biologic DMARDs and controls. Ninety-four RA patients and 94 sex- and age-matched controls were prospectively recruited at seven centres. Cardiovascular (CV) risk factors and co-morbidities, RA characteristics and therapy were recorded. Common carotid artery (CCA)-IMT was assessed in RA patients and controls with automated radiofrequency-based US by the same investigator at each centre. Forty-five (47.9%) RA patients had been treated with synthetic DMARDs and 49 (52.1%) with synthetic and biologic DMARDs. There were no significant differences between the RA patients and controls in demographics, CV co-morbidities and CV disease. There were significantly more smokers among RA patients treated with synthetic and biologic DMARDs (P = 0.036). Disease duration and duration of CS and synthetic DMARD therapy was significantly longer in RA patients treated with synthetic and biologic DMARDs (P radiofrequency-based measurement of CCA-IMT can discriminate between RA patients treated with synthetic DMARDs vs RA patients treated with synthetic and biologic DMARDs.

  6. Evidence for replacement of an infected synthetic by a biological mesh in abdominal wall hernia repair

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Agneta eMontgomery

    2016-01-01

    Full Text Available The incidence of deep infection using a synthetic mesh in inguinal hernia repair is low and reported to be well below 1%. This is in contrast to incisional hernia surgery where the reported incidence is 3% respective 13% comparing laparoscopic to open mesh repair reported in a Cochrane review. Main risk factors were long operation time, surgical site contamination and early wound complications. An infected mesh can be preserved using conservative treatment were negative pressure wound therapy (VAC® could play an important role. If strategy fails, the mesh needs to be removed. This review aims to look at evidence for situations were a biological mesh would work as a replacement of a removed infected synthetic mesh. Material and MethodsA literature search of the Medline database was performed using the PubMed search engine. Twenty publications were found relevant for this review.ResultsFor studies reviewed three options are presented: removal of the infected synthetic mesh alone, replacement with either a new synthetic or a new biological mesh. Operations were all performed at specialist centers. Removal of the mesh alone was an option limited to inguinal hernias. In ventral/incisional hernias the use of a biological mesh for replacement resulted in a very high recurrence rate, if bridging was required. Either a synthetic or a biological mesh seems to work as a replacement when fascial closure can be achieved. Evidence is though very low. ConclusionWhen required, either a synthetic or a biological meshes seems to work as a replacement for an infected synthetic mesh if the defect can be closed. It is however not recommended to use a biological mesh for bridging. Mesh replacement surgery is demanding and is recommended to be performed in a specialist center.

  7. Nuclear energy: biological effects and environmental impact

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Boonefaes, M.

    1987-01-01

    This thesis is concerned with the large development of nuclear power plants and the recent nuclear catastrophe which has made clear how the hazards resulting from radioactivity affect public health and the environment. Environmental effects of nuclear power plants operating in normal conditions are small, but to obtain nuclear power plants of reduced radioactivity, optimization of their design, construction, operation and waste processing plays a decisive role. Biological effects of ionizing radiations and environmental impacts of Nuclear Power plants are developed [fr

  8. Cosmo Cassette: A Microfluidic Microgravity Microbial System For Synthetic Biology Unit Tests and Satellite Missions

    Science.gov (United States)

    Berliner, Aaron J.

    2013-01-01

    Although methods in the design-build-test life cycle of the synthetic biology field have grown rapidly, the expansion has been non-uniform. The design and build stages in development have seen innovations in the form of biological CAD and more efficient means for building DNA, RNA, and other biological constructs. The testing phase of the cycle remains in need of innovation. Presented will be both a theoretical abstraction of biological measurement and a practical demonstration of a microfluidics-based platform for characterizing synthetic biological phenomena. Such a platform demonstrates a design of additive manufacturing (3D printing) for construction of a microbial fuel cell (MFC) to be used in experiments carried out in space. First, the biocompatibility of the polypropylene chassis will be demonstrated. The novel MFCs will be cheaper, and faster to make and iterate through designs. The novel design will contain a manifold switchingdistribution system and an integrated in-chip set of reagent reservoirs fabricated via 3D printing. The automated nature of the 3D printing yields itself to higher resolution switching valves and leads to smaller sized payloads, lower cost, reduced power and a standardized platform for synthetic biology unit tests on Earth and in space. It will be demonstrated that the application of unit testing in synthetic biology will lead to the automatic construction and validation of desired constructs. Unit testing methodologies offer benefits of preemptive problem identification, change of facility, simplicity of integration, ease of documentation, and separation of interface from implementation, and automated design.

  9. From bricolage to BioBricks™: Synthetic biology and rational design.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lewens, Tim

    2013-12-01

    Synthetic biology is often described as a project that applies rational design methods to the organic world. Although humans have influenced organic lineages in many ways, it is nonetheless reasonable to place synthetic biology towards one end of a continuum between purely 'blind' processes of organic modification at one extreme, and wholly rational, design-led processes at the other. An example from evolutionary electronics illustrates some of the constraints imposed by the rational design methodology itself. These constraints reinforce the limitations of the synthetic biology ideal, limitations that are often freely acknowledged by synthetic biology's own practitioners. The synthetic biology methodology reflects a series of constraints imposed on finite human designers who wish, as far as is practicable, to communicate with each other and to intervene in nature in reasonably targeted and well-understood ways. This is better understood as indicative of an underlying awareness of human limitations, rather than as expressive of an objectionable impulse to mastery over nature. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  10. High molecular weight DNA assembly in vivo for synthetic biology applications.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Juhas, Mario; Ajioka, James W

    2017-05-01

    DNA assembly is the key technology of the emerging interdisciplinary field of synthetic biology. While the assembly of smaller DNA fragments is usually performed in vitro, high molecular weight DNA molecules are assembled in vivo via homologous recombination in the host cell. Escherichia coli, Bacillus subtilis and Saccharomyces cerevisiae are the main hosts used for DNA assembly in vivo. Progress in DNA assembly over the last few years has paved the way for the construction of whole genomes. This review provides an update on recent synthetic biology advances with particular emphasis on high molecular weight DNA assembly in vivo in E. coli, B. subtilis and S. cerevisiae. Special attention is paid to the assembly of whole genomes, such as those of the first synthetic cell, synthetic yeast and minimal genomes.

  11. Synthetic biology devices and circuits for RNA-based 'smart vaccines': a propositional review.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Andries, Oliwia; Kitada, Tasuku; Bodner, Katie; Sanders, Niek N; Weiss, Ron

    2015-02-01

    Nucleic acid vaccines have been gaining attention as an alternative to the standard attenuated pathogen or protein based vaccine. However, an unrealized advantage of using such DNA or RNA based vaccination modalities is the ability to program within these nucleic acids regulatory devices that would provide an immunologist with the power to control the production of antigens and adjuvants in a desirable manner by administering small molecule drugs as chemical triggers. Advances in synthetic biology have resulted in the creation of highly predictable and modular genetic parts and devices that can be composed into synthetic gene circuits with complex behaviors. With the recent advent of modified RNA gene delivery methods and developments in the RNA replicon platform, we foresee a future in which mammalian synthetic biologists will create genetic circuits encoded exclusively on RNA. Here, we review the current repertoire of devices used in RNA synthetic biology and propose how programmable 'smart vaccines' will revolutionize the field of RNA vaccination.

  12. Synthetic Biology Platform for Sensing and Integrating Endogenous Transcriptional Inputs in Mammalian Cells.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Angelici, Bartolomeo; Mailand, Erik; Haefliger, Benjamin; Benenson, Yaakov

    2016-08-30

    One of the goals of synthetic biology is to develop programmable artificial gene networks that can transduce multiple endogenous molecular cues to precisely control cell behavior. Realizing this vision requires interfacing natural molecular inputs with synthetic components that generate functional molecular outputs. Interfacing synthetic circuits with endogenous mammalian transcription factors has been particularly difficult. Here, we describe a systematic approach that enables integration and transduction of multiple mammalian transcription factor inputs by a synthetic network. The approach is facilitated by a proportional amplifier sensor based on synergistic positive autoregulation. The circuits efficiently transduce endogenous transcription factor levels into RNAi, transcriptional transactivation, and site-specific recombination. They also enable AND logic between pairs of arbitrary transcription factors. The results establish a framework for developing synthetic gene networks that interface with cellular processes through transcriptional regulators. Copyright © 2016 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  13. Effect of synthetic adjuvants of biological activity of spleen proteins

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Kartasheva, A.L.; Yuferova, N.V.; Drozhennikov, V.A.; Orlova, E.B.; Perevezentseva, O.S.; Filatov, P.P.

    1981-01-01

    Intraperitoneal administration to mice of synthetic adjuvants of a polyanion type increases the spleen mass by 500% and rises the content of proteins with activity of inhibitor of DNAase 1. A protein fraction isolated from the spleen of treated animals administered to exposed (7.7 Gy) mice alone or in a combination with exogenous DNA increases survival up to 61.1 and 80.5%, respectively, as opposed to 36.6% in the case of administration of proteins from intact animals, or 8.3% in the control (no treatment). The protein fraction from treated animals administered to mice exposed to 5.1-5.5 Gy accelerates the recovery of hemopoesis and immune response better than proteins of intact animals

  14. 78 FR 6087 - Biological and Environmental Research Advisory Committee

    Science.gov (United States)

    2013-01-29

    ... DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Biological and Environmental Research Advisory Committee AGENCY: Office of... the Biological and Environmental Research Advisory Committee (BERAC). The Federal Advisory Committee... Federal Officer, BERAC, U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Science, Office of Biological and...

  15. In situ biomolecule production by bacteria; a synthetic biology approach to medicine.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Flores Bueso, Yensi; Lehouritis, Panos; Tangney, Mark

    2018-04-10

    The ability to modify existing microbiota at different sites presents enormous potential for local or indirect management of various diseases. Because bacteria can be maintained for lengthy periods in various regions of the body, they represent a platform with enormous potential for targeted production of biomolecules, which offer tremendous promise for therapeutic and diagnostic approaches for various diseases. While biological medicines are currently limited in the clinic to patient administration of exogenously produced biomolecules from engineered cells, in situ production of biomolecules presents enormous scope in medicine and beyond. The slow pace and high expense of traditional research approaches has particularly hampered the development of biological medicines. It may be argued that bacterial-based medicine has been "waiting" for the advent of enabling technology. We propose that this technology is Synthetic Biology, and that the wait is over. Synthetic Biology facilitates a systematic approach to programming living entities and/or their products, using an approach to Research and Development (R&D) that facilitates rapid, cheap, accessible, yet sophisticated product development. Full engagement with the Synthetic Biology approach to R&D can unlock the potential for bacteria as medicines for cancer and other indications. In this review, we describe how by employing Synthetic Biology, designer bugs can be used as drugs, drug-production factories or diagnostic devices, using oncology as an exemplar for the concept of in situ biomolecule production in medicine. Copyright © 2018 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  16. From Extremophiles to Star Trek, The Use of Synthetic Biology in Astrobiology

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rothschild, Lynn J.; Fujishima, Kosuke; Lima, Ivan Paulino; Gentry, Diana; Phan, Samson; Navarette, Jesica; Palmer, Jesse; Burnier, Andre

    2012-01-01

    Synthetic biology – the design and construction of new biological parts and systems and the redesign of existing ones for useful purposes – has the potential to transform fields from pharmaceuticals to fuels. Our lab has focused on the potential of synthetic biology to revolutionize all three major parts of astrobiology: Where do we come from? Where are we going? and Are we alone? For the first and third, synthetic biology is allowing us to answer whether the evolutionary narrative that has played out on planet earth is likely to have been unique or universal. For example, in our lab we are re-evolving biotic functions using only the most thermodynamically stable amino acids in order to understand potential capabilities of an early organism with a limited repertoire of amino acids. In the future synthetic biology will play an increasing role in human activities both on earth, in fields as diverse as bio-mining, human health and the industrial production of novel bio-composites. Beyond earth, we will rely increasingly on biologically-provided life support, as we have throughout our evolutionary history. In order to do this, the field will build on two of the great contributions of astrobiology: studies of the origin of life and life in extreme environments.

  17. Synthetic Biology Outside the Cell: Linking Computational Tools to Cell-Free Systems

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Lewis, Daniel D. [Integrative Genetics and Genomics, University of California Davis, Davis, CA (United States); Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of California Davis, Davis, CA (United States); Villarreal, Fernando D.; Wu, Fan; Tan, Cheemeng, E-mail: cmtan@ucdavis.edu [Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of California Davis, Davis, CA (United States)

    2014-12-09

    As mathematical models become more commonly integrated into the study of biology, a common language for describing biological processes is manifesting. Many tools have emerged for the simulation of in vivo synthetic biological systems, with only a few examples of prominent work done on predicting the dynamics of cell-free synthetic systems. At the same time, experimental biologists have begun to study dynamics of in vitro systems encapsulated by amphiphilic molecules, opening the door for the development of a new generation of biomimetic systems. In this review, we explore both in vivo and in vitro models of biochemical networks with a special focus on tools that could be applied to the construction of cell-free expression systems. We believe that quantitative studies of complex cellular mechanisms and pathways in synthetic systems can yield important insights into what makes cells different from conventional chemical systems.

  18. Review of Microfluidic Photobioreactor Technology for Metabolic Engineering and Synthetic Biology of Cyanobacteria and Microalgae

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ya-Tang Yang

    2016-10-01

    Full Text Available One goal of metabolic engineering and synthetic biology for cyanobacteria and microalgae is to engineer strains that can optimally produce biofuels and commodity chemicals. However, the current workflow is slow and labor intensive with respect to assembly of genetic parts and characterization of production yields because of the slow growth rates of these organisms. Here, we review recent progress in the microfluidic photobioreactors and identify opportunities and unmet needs in metabolic engineering and synthetic biology. Because of the unprecedented experimental resolution down to the single cell level, long-term real-time monitoring capability, and high throughput with low cost, microfluidic photobioreactor technology will be an indispensible tool to speed up the development process, advance fundamental knowledge, and realize the full potential of metabolic engineering and synthetic biology for cyanobacteria and microalgae.

  19. Synthetic Biology and the Moral Significance of Artificial Life: A Reply to Douglas, Powell and Savulescu.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Christiansen, Andreas

    2016-06-01

    I discuss the moral significance of artificial life within synthetic biology via a discussion of Douglas, Powell and Savulescu's paper 'Is the creation of artificial life morally significant'. I argue that the definitions of 'artificial life' and of 'moral significance' are too narrow. Douglas, Powell and Savulescu's definition of artificial life does not capture all core projects of synthetic biology or the ethical concerns that have been voiced, and their definition of moral significance fails to take into account the possibility that creating artificial life is conditionally acceptable. Finally, I show how several important objections to synthetic biology are plausibly understood as arguing that creating artificial life in a wide sense is only conditionally acceptable. © 2016 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  20. Synthetic Biology Outside the Cell: Linking Computational Tools to Cell-Free Systems

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Lewis, Daniel D.; Villarreal, Fernando D.; Wu, Fan; Tan, Cheemeng

    2014-01-01

    As mathematical models become more commonly integrated into the study of biology, a common language for describing biological processes is manifesting. Many tools have emerged for the simulation of in vivo synthetic biological systems, with only a few examples of prominent work done on predicting the dynamics of cell-free synthetic systems. At the same time, experimental biologists have begun to study dynamics of in vitro systems encapsulated by amphiphilic molecules, opening the door for the development of a new generation of biomimetic systems. In this review, we explore both in vivo and in vitro models of biochemical networks with a special focus on tools that could be applied to the construction of cell-free expression systems. We believe that quantitative studies of complex cellular mechanisms and pathways in synthetic systems can yield important insights into what makes cells different from conventional chemical systems.

  1. Cell-free protein synthesis enabled rapid prototyping for metabolic engineering and synthetic biology

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Lihong Jiang

    2018-06-01

    Full Text Available Advances in metabolic engineering and synthetic biology have facilitated the manufacturing of many valuable-added compounds and commodity chemicals using microbial cell factories in the past decade. However, due to complexity of cellular metabolism, the optimization of metabolic pathways for maximal production represents a grand challenge and an unavoidable barrier for metabolic engineering. Recently, cell-free protein synthesis system (CFPS has been emerging as an enabling alternative to address challenges in biomanufacturing. This review summarizes the recent progresses of CFPS in rapid prototyping of biosynthetic pathways and genetic circuits (biosensors to speed up design-build-test (DBT cycles of metabolic engineering and synthetic biology. Keywords: Cell-free protein synthesis, Metabolic pathway optimization, Genetic circuits, Metabolic engineering, Synthetic biology

  2. Leaf LIMS: A Flexible Laboratory Information Management System with a Synthetic Biology Focus.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Craig, Thomas; Holland, Richard; D'Amore, Rosalinda; Johnson, James R; McCue, Hannah V; West, Anthony; Zulkower, Valentin; Tekotte, Hille; Cai, Yizhi; Swan, Daniel; Davey, Robert P; Hertz-Fowler, Christiane; Hall, Anthony; Caddick, Mark

    2017-12-15

    This paper presents Leaf LIMS, a flexible laboratory information management system (LIMS) designed to address the complexity of synthetic biology workflows. At the project's inception there was a lack of a LIMS designed specifically to address synthetic biology processes, with most systems focused on either next generation sequencing or biobanks and clinical sample handling. Leaf LIMS implements integrated project, item, and laboratory stock tracking, offering complete sample and construct genealogy, materials and lot tracking, and modular assay data capture. Hence, it enables highly configurable task-based workflows and supports data capture from project inception to completion. As such, in addition to it supporting synthetic biology it is ideal for many laboratory environments with multiple projects and users. The system is deployed as a web application through Docker and is provided under a permissive MIT license. It is freely available for download at https://leaflims.github.io .

  3. Applications of membrane computing in systems and synthetic biology

    CERN Document Server

    Gheorghe, Marian; Pérez-Jiménez, Mario

    2014-01-01

    Membrane Computing was introduced as a computational paradigm in Natural Computing. The models introduced, called Membrane (or P) Systems, provide a coherent platform to describe and study living cells as computational systems. Membrane Systems have been investigated for their computational aspects and employed to model problems in other fields, like: Computer Science, Linguistics, Biology, Economy, Computer Graphics, Robotics, etc. Their inherent parallelism, heterogeneity and intrinsic versatility allow them to model a broad range of processes and phenomena, being also an efficient means to solve and analyze problems in a novel way. Membrane Computing has been used to model biological systems, becoming with time a thorough modeling paradigm comparable, in its modeling and predicting capabilities, to more established models in this area. This book is the result of the need to collect, in an organic way, different facets of this paradigm. The chapters of this book, together with the web pages accompanying th...

  4. Rational diversification of a promoter providing fine-tuned expression and orthogonal regulation for synthetic biology.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Blount, Benjamin A; Weenink, Tim; Vasylechko, Serge; Ellis, Tom

    2012-01-01

    Yeast is an ideal organism for the development and application of synthetic biology, yet there remain relatively few well-characterised biological parts suitable for precise engineering of this chassis. In order to address this current need, we present here a strategy that takes a single biological part, a promoter, and re-engineers it to produce a fine-graded output range promoter library and new regulated promoters desirable for orthogonal synthetic biology applications. A highly constitutive Saccharomyces cerevisiae promoter, PFY1p, was identified by bioinformatic approaches, characterised in vivo and diversified at its core sequence to create a 36-member promoter library. TetR regulation was introduced into PFY1p to create a synthetic inducible promoter (iPFY1p) that functions in an inverter device. Orthogonal and scalable regulation of synthetic promoters was then demonstrated for the first time using customisable Transcription Activator-Like Effectors (TALEs) modified and designed to act as orthogonal repressors for specific PFY1-based promoters. The ability to diversify a promoter at its core sequences and then independently target Transcription Activator-Like Orthogonal Repressors (TALORs) to virtually any of these sequences shows great promise toward the design and construction of future synthetic gene networks that encode complex "multi-wire" logic functions.

  5. Rational Diversification of a Promoter Providing Fine-Tuned Expression and Orthogonal Regulation for Synthetic Biology

    Science.gov (United States)

    Blount, Benjamin A.; Weenink, Tim; Vasylechko, Serge; Ellis, Tom

    2012-01-01

    Yeast is an ideal organism for the development and application of synthetic biology, yet there remain relatively few well-characterised biological parts suitable for precise engineering of this chassis. In order to address this current need, we present here a strategy that takes a single biological part, a promoter, and re-engineers it to produce a fine-graded output range promoter library and new regulated promoters desirable for orthogonal synthetic biology applications. A highly constitutive Saccharomyces cerevisiae promoter, PFY1p, was identified by bioinformatic approaches, characterised in vivo and diversified at its core sequence to create a 36-member promoter library. TetR regulation was introduced into PFY1p to create a synthetic inducible promoter (iPFY1p) that functions in an inverter device. Orthogonal and scalable regulation of synthetic promoters was then demonstrated for the first time using customisable Transcription Activator-Like Effectors (TALEs) modified and designed to act as orthogonal repressors for specific PFY1-based promoters. The ability to diversify a promoter at its core sequences and then independently target Transcription Activator-Like Orthogonal Repressors (TALORs) to virtually any of these sequences shows great promise toward the design and construction of future synthetic gene networks that encode complex “multi-wire” logic functions. PMID:22442681

  6. C-Nucleosides: Synthetic Strategies and Biological Applications

    Czech Academy of Sciences Publication Activity Database

    Štambaský, J.; Hocek, Michal; Kočovský, P.

    2009-01-01

    Roč. 109, č. 12 (2009), s. 6729-6764 ISSN 0009-2665 R&D Projects: GA MŠk LC512; GA AV ČR IAA400550902 Grant - others:NIH(US) 1R03TW007372-01 Institutional research plan: CEZ:AV0Z40550506 Keywords : nucleosides * nucleobases * biological activity * extension of genetic alphabet Subject RIV: CC - Organic Chemistry Impact factor: 35.957, year: 2009

  7. Synthetic Biology: Engineering, Evolution and Design (SEED) Conference 2015

    Science.gov (United States)

    2015-12-01

    yield stability. Transgenic approach plays an important role in crop improvement. Currently, transgenes are randomly inserted into maize genome...Improve Microbial Biofuel Production - Mary Dunlop, University of Vermont 2:30-3:00 PM Targeted Integration of Genes into the Maize Genome Facilitated...highlights gaps in the present understanding of M13 biology. Understanding the subtleties of regulation will be important for maximally ex- ploiting the

  8. Glutarimides: Biological activity, general synthetic methods and physicochemical properties

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Popović-Đorđević Jelena B.

    2015-01-01

    Full Text Available Glutarimides, 2,6-dioxopiperidines are compounds that rarely occur in natural sources, but so far isolated ones exert widespread pharmacological activities, which makes them valuable as potential pharmacotherapeutics. Glutarimides act as androgen receptor antagonists, anti-inflammatory, anxiolytics, antibacterials, and tumor suppressing agents. Some synthetic glutarimide derivatives are already in use as immunosuppressive and sedative (e.g., thalidomide or anxiolytics (buspirone drugs. The wide applicability of this class of compounds, justify the interest of scientists to explore new pathways for its syntheses. General methods for synthesis of six-membered imide ring, are presented in this paper. These methods include: a reaction of dicarboxylic acids with ammonia or primary amine, b reactions of cyclization: amido-acids, diamides, dinitriles, nitrilo-acids, amido-nitriles, amido-esters, amidoacyl-chlorides or diacyl-chlorides, c adition of carbon-monoxide on a,b-unsaturated amides, d oxidation reactions, e Michael adition of active methylen compounds on methacrylamide or conjugated amides. Some of the described methods are used for closing glutarimide ring in syntheses of farmacological active compounds sesbanimide and aldose reductase inhibitors (ARI. Analyses of the geometry, as well as, the spectroscopic analyses (NMR and FT-IR of some glutarimides are presented because of their broad spectrum of pharmacological activity. To elucidate structures of glutarimides, geometrical parameters of newly synthesized tert-pentyl-1-benzyl-4-methyl-glutarimide-3-carboxylate (PBMG are analyzed and compared with the experimental data from X-ray analysis for glutarimide. Moreover, molecular electrostatic potential (MEP surface which is plotted over the optimized geometry to elucidate the reactivity of PBMG molecule is analyzed. The electronic properties of glutarimide derivatives are explained on the example of thalidomide. The Frontier Molecular Orbital

  9. Biological response to the synergistic effect of synthetic colour additives and gamma irradiation on rats

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Ashry, O.M.; Kafafy, Y.A.; Salama, S.F.

    2007-01-01

    This Study was conducted to determine the effect of the inevitable intake of synthetic colour additives in our everyday life and radiation exposure on the levels of some physiological parameters. Female rats were divided into: I- Control group. 2- Group administrated an azo dye mixture of tartrazine and brilliant blue orally for 2 weeks (100 mg/Kg body wt). 3- Group received gamma radiation of 5 Gy. 4- Animals received the dyes mixture for 2 weeks and irradiation. Rats were examined on the 1st, 3rd and 7th days post irradiation or dyes treatment followed by irradiation. Dyes treatment induced significant decreases in hemoglobin (Hb), hematocrit (Ht), red blood cells (RBCs), alkaline phosphatase (ALP) activity. Significant increases of plasma total proteins and albumin levels were recorded. No significant changes of alanine aminotransferase (ALT) activity, iron (Fe), cupper (Cu) and zinc (Zn) levels were noted. Irradiation induced significant decline in Hb, Ht, RBCs, Cu and Fe levels. Significant increases of glucose (7th day), uric acid (3rd and 7 days), total proteins (3rd day) levels, and ALT activity, while no changes were recorded in ALP, albumin or Zn levels. Dual treatment of irradiation and dyes aggravated the radiation-induced changes. Bearing in mind that safety concerns overweighed the approval of use of synthetic colors, the utilization of these colors in drug and food manufacturing should be limited to minimize the physiological disturbances and the risk concomitant to environmental oxidative stress. During the last decade, extensive studies on the use of colors in processed foods, drinks, drugs and cosmetics confirmed that they may act as xenobiotics (Guengerich, 1995). With the increasing awareness of possible health hazards associated with their use more attention has been focused on the biological

  10. Structure and Biological Activity of Pathogen-like Synthetic Nanomedicines

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lőrincz, Orsolya; Tőke, Enikő R.; Somogyi, Eszter; Horkay, Ferenc; Chandran, Preethi; Douglas, Jack F.; Szebeni, János; Lisziewicz, Julianna

    2011-01-01

    Here we characterize the structure, stability and intracellular mode-of-action of DermaVir nanomedicine that is under clinical development for the treatment of HIV/AIDS. This nanomedicine is comprised of pathogen-like pDNA/PEIm nanoparticles (NPs) having the structure and function resembling spherical viruses that naturally evolved to deliver nucleic acids to the cells. Atomic force microscopy demonstrated spherical 100–200nm NPs with a smooth polymer surface protecting the pDNA in the core. Optical-absorption determined both the NP structural stability and biological activity relevant to their ability to escape from the endosome and release the pDNA at the nucleus. Salt, pH and temperature influence the nanomedicine shelf-life and intracellular stability. This approach facilitates the development of diverse polyplex nanomedicines where the delivered pDNA-expressed antigens induce immune responses to kill infected cells. PMID:21839051

  11. Standardization, IPRs and open innovation in synthetic biology

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Minssen, Timo; Wested, Jakob

    2015-01-01

    various technical areas, and also the basic processes of standard creation can be divided into various categories. The different technical areas and processes for standardization differ in their speed, handling of interests and ability to dodge possible IPR concerns. Out of this notion arise i.......a. the following questions: How comparable is engineering in SB to more traditional fields of engineering?; What type of standards have emerged and what bearing have IPRs on these?; and, How applicable are the approaches adopted by the standards-setting organizations in the information and communication technology...... (ICT) to biological standards? These and further legal issues related to IP, regulation, standardization, competition law & open innovation require a careful consideration of new user-generated models and solutions. Before this background this paper seeks to describe IP and standardization aspects...

  12. RNA and RNP as Building Blocks for Nanotechnology and Synthetic Biology.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ohno, Hirohisa; Saito, Hirohide

    2016-01-01

    Recent technologies that aimed to elucidate cellular function have revealed essential roles for RNA molecules in living systems. Our knowledge concerning functional and structural information of naturally occurring RNA and RNA-protein (RNP) complexes is increasing rapidly. RNA and RNP interaction motifs are structural units that function as building blocks to constitute variety of complex structures. RNA-central synthetic biology and nanotechnology are constructive approaches that employ the accumulated information and build synthetic RNA (RNP)-based circuits and nanostructures. Here, we describe how to design and construct synthetic RNA (RNP)-based devices and structures at the nanometer-scale for biological and future therapeutic applications. RNA/RNP nanostructures can also be utilized as the molecular scaffold to control the localization or interactions of target molecule(s). Moreover, RNA motifs recognized by RNA-binding proteins can be applied to make protein-responsive translational "switches" that can turn gene expression "on" or "off" depending on the intracellular environment. This "synthetic RNA and RNP world" will expand tools for nanotechnology and synthetic biology. In addition, these reconstructive approaches would lead to a greater understanding of building principle in naturally occurring RNA/RNP molecules and systems. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  13. Synthetic biology and biomimetic chemistry as converging technologies fostering a new generation of smart biosensors.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Scognamiglio, Viviana; Antonacci, Amina; Lambreva, Maya D; Litescu, Simona C; Rea, Giuseppina

    2015-12-15

    Biosensors are powerful tunable systems able to switch between an ON/OFF status in response to an external stimulus. This extraordinary property could be engineered by adopting synthetic biology or biomimetic chemistry to obtain tailor-made biosensors having the desired requirements of robustness, sensitivity and detection range. Recent advances in both disciplines, in fact, allow to re-design the configuration of the sensing elements - either by modifying toggle switches and gene networks, or by producing synthetic entities mimicking key properties of natural molecules. The present review considered the role of synthetic biology in sustaining biosensor technology, reporting examples from the literature and reflecting on the features that make it a useful tool for designing and constructing engineered biological systems for sensing application. Besides, a section dedicated to bioinspired synthetic molecules as powerful tools to enhance biosensor potential is reported, and treated as an extension of the concept of biomimetic chemistry, where organic synthesis is used to generate artificial molecules that mimic natural molecules. Thus, the design of synthetic molecules, such as aptamers, biomimetics, molecular imprinting polymers, peptide nucleic acids, and ribozymes were encompassed as "products" of biomimetic chemistry. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  14. Integrative systems and synthetic biology of cell-matrix adhesion sites.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zamir, Eli

    2016-09-02

    The complexity of cell-matrix adhesion convolves its roles in the development and functioning of multicellular organisms and their evolutionary tinkering. Cell-matrix adhesion is mediated by sites along the plasma membrane that anchor the actin cytoskeleton to the matrix via a large number of proteins, collectively called the integrin adhesome. Fundamental challenges for understanding how cell-matrix adhesion sites assemble and function arise from their multi-functionality, rapid dynamics, large number of components and molecular diversity. Systems biology faces these challenges in its strive to understand how the integrin adhesome gives rise to functional adhesion sites. Synthetic biology enables engineering intracellular modules and circuits with properties of interest. In this review I discuss some of the fundamental questions in systems biology of cell-matrix adhesion and how synthetic biology can help addressing them.

  15. Biological interaction of living cells with COSAN-based synthetic vesicles.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tarrés, Màrius; Canetta, Elisabetta; Paul, Eleanor; Forbes, Jordan; Azzouni, Karima; Viñas, Clara; Teixidor, Francesc; Harwood, Adrian J

    2015-01-15

    Cobaltabisdicarbollide (COSAN) [3,3'-Co(1,2-C2B9H11)2](-), is a complex boron-based anion that has the unusual property of self-assembly into membranes and vesicles. These membranes have similar dimensions to biological membranes found in cells, and previously COSAN has been shown to pass through synthetic lipid membranes and those of living cells without causing breakdown of membrane barrier properties. Here, we investigate the interaction of this inorganic membrane system with living cells. We show that COSAN has no immediate effect on cell viability, and cells fully recover when COSAN is removed following exposure for hours to days. COSAN elicits a range of cell biological effects, including altered cell morphology, inhibition of cell growth and, in some cases, apoptosis. These observations reveal a new biology at the interface between inorganic, synthetic COSAN membranes and naturally occurring biological membranes.

  16. Synthetic Biology R&D Risks: Social-Institutional Contexts Matter!

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wolfe, Amy K; Campa, Maria Fernanda; Bergmann, Rachael A; Stelling, Savannah C; Bjornstad, David J; Shumpert, Barry L

    2016-05-01

    Factors that shape actual research practices - 'social and institutional context' - typically are missing from considerations of synthetic biology R&D-related risk and containment. We argue that analyzing context is essential in identifying circumstances that create, amplify, or diminish risk, and in revealing new opportunities for avoiding or managing those risks. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  17. Synthetic biology approaches for protein production optimization in bacterial cell factories

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Rennig, Maja; Andersen, Mikael Rørdam

    devices and their fusion to antibiotic selection markers enables subsequent selection of high-expressing constructs. The approach is a simple and inexpensive alternative to advanced screening techniques. In addition, a second synthetic biology approach provides the means for fast and efficient plasmid...

  18. Playing God in Frankenstein's Footsteps: Synthetic Biology and the Meaning of Life.

    Science.gov (United States)

    van den Belt, Henk

    2009-12-01

    The emergent new science of synthetic biology is challenging entrenched distinctions between, amongst others, life and non-life, the natural and the artificial, the evolved and the designed, and even the material and the informational. Whenever such culturally sanctioned boundaries are breached, researchers are inevitably accused of playing God or treading in Frankenstein's footsteps. Bioethicists, theologians and editors of scientific journals feel obliged to provide an authoritative answer to the ambiguous question of the 'meaning' of life, both as a scientific definition and as an explication with wider existential connotations. This article analyses the arguments mooted in the emerging societal debates on synthetic biology and the way its practitioners respond to criticism, mostly by assuming a defiant posture or professing humility. It explores the relationship between the 'playing God' theme and the Frankenstein motif and examines the doctrinal status of the 'playing God' argument. One particularly interesting finding is that liberal theologians generally deny the religious character of the 'playing God' argument-a response which fits in with the curious fact that this argument is used mainly by secular organizations. Synthetic biology, it is therefore maintained, does not offend so much the God of the Bible as a deified Nature. While syntheses of artificial life forms cause some vague uneasiness that life may lose its special meaning, most concerns turn out to be narrowly anthropocentric. As long as synthetic biology creates only new microbial life and does not directly affect human life, it will in all likelihood be considered acceptable.

  19. Synthetic biology and global health in the age of intellectual property

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Belt, van den H.

    2014-01-01

    Although synthetic biology (SB) conjures up a future cornucopia of new medicines and other health applications, the antimalarial drug artemisinin is still one of the few concrete illustrations to substantiate this promise. As SB’s favorite poster child, it is atypical because it exemplifies a rather

  20. Specifications of Standards in Systems and Synthetic Biology: Status and Developments in 2016

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Schreiber Falk

    2016-09-01

    Full Text Available Standards are essential to the advancement of science and technology. In systems and synthetic biology, numerous standards and associated tools have been developed over the last 16 years. This special issue of the Journal of Integrative Bioinformatics aims to support the exchange, distribution and archiving of these standards, as well as to provide centralised and easily citable access to them.

  1. Image of Synthetic Biology and Nanotechnology: A Survey among University Students

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Christian Ineichen

    2017-09-01

    Full Text Available This study explores the image of synthetic biology and nanotechnology in comparison to agricultural biotechnology and communication technology by examining spontaneous associations with, and deliberate evaluations of, these technologies by university students. Data were collected through a self-completion online questionnaire by students from two universities in Switzerland. The survey aimed to capture implicit associations, explicit harm-benefit evaluations and views on regulation. The data suggest overall positive associations with emerging technologies. While positive associations were most pronounced for nanotechnology, agricultural biotechnology was attributed with the least favorable associations. In contrast to its positive result in the association task, respondents attributed a high harm potential for nanotechnology. Associations attributed to synthetic biology were demonstrated to be more positive than for agricultural biotechnology, however, not as favorable as for nanotechnology. Contrary to the evaluations of nanotechnology, the benefit-examples of synthetic biology were evaluated particularly positively. Accordingly, the investigated technologies enjoy different esteem, with synthetic biology and nanotechnology both showing a more “exciting” image. Even though, the image of nanotechnology was demonstrated to be more pronounced it was also more heterogeneous across tasks while agricultural biotechnology remains contested. For all technologies, the predominant spontaneous concerns pertain to risks rather than an immoral nature inherent to these technologies. Our data suggest that harm-benefit analyses reveal only one aspect of the attitude toward emerging technologies. Survey questions addressing spontaneous associations with these technologies are a valuable addition for our picture of the image of emerging technologies.

  2. Blueprints for green biotech: development and application of standards for plant synthetic biology.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Patron, Nicola J

    2016-06-15

    Synthetic biology aims to apply engineering principles to the design and modification of biological systems and to the construction of biological parts and devices. The ability to programme cells by providing new instructions written in DNA is a foundational technology of the field. Large-scale de novo DNA synthesis has accelerated synthetic biology by offering custom-made molecules at ever decreasing costs. However, for large fragments and for experiments in which libraries of DNA sequences are assembled in different combinations, assembly in the laboratory is still desirable. Biological assembly standards allow DNA parts, even those from multiple laboratories and experiments, to be assembled together using the same reagents and protocols. The adoption of such standards for plant synthetic biology has been cohesive for the plant science community, facilitating the application of genome editing technologies to plant systems and streamlining progress in large-scale, multi-laboratory bioengineering projects. © 2016 The Author(s). published by Portland Press Limited on behalf of the Biochemical Society.

  3. Negotiating the dynamics of uncomfortable knowledge: The case of dual use and synthetic biology

    Science.gov (United States)

    Marris, Claire; Jefferson, Catherine; Lentzos, Filippa

    2014-01-01

    Institutions need to ignore some knowledge in order to function. This is “uncomfortable knowledge” because it undermines the ability of those institutions to pursue their goals (Rayner, 2012). We identify three bodies of knowledge that are relevant to understandings of the dual use threat posed by synthetic biology but are excluded from related policy discussions. We demonstrate how these “unknown knowns” constitute uncomfortable knowledge because they disrupt the simplified worldview that underpins contemporary discourse on the potential misuse of synthetic biology by malign actors. We describe how these inconvenient truths have been systematically ignored and argue that this is because they are perceived as a threat by organisations involved in the promotion of synthetic biology as well as by those involved in managing biosecurity risks. This has led to a situation where concerns about the biosecurity threat posed by synthetic biology are not only exaggerated, but are, more importantly, misplaced. This, in turn, means that related policies are misdirected and unlikely to have much impact. We focus on the dynamics of discussions about synthetic biology and dual use to demonstrate how the same “knowns” that are denied or dismissed as “unknown knowns” in certain circumstances are sometimes mobilised as “known knowns” by the same category of actors in a different context, when this serves to sustain the goals of the individuals and institutions involved. Based on our own experience, we argue that negotiating the dynamics of uncomfortable knowledge is a difficult, but necessary, component of meaningful transdisciplinary collaborations. PMID:25484910

  4. Precision control of recombinant gene transcription for CHO cell synthetic biology.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brown, Adam J; James, David C

    2016-01-01

    The next generation of mammalian cell factories for biopharmaceutical production will be genetically engineered to possess both generic and product-specific manufacturing capabilities that may not exist naturally. Introduction of entirely new combinations of synthetic functions (e.g. novel metabolic or stress-response pathways), and retro-engineering of existing functional cell modules will drive disruptive change in cellular manufacturing performance. However, before we can apply the core concepts underpinning synthetic biology (design, build, test) to CHO cell engineering we must first develop practical and robust enabling technologies. Fundamentally, we will require the ability to precisely control the relative stoichiometry of numerous functional components we simultaneously introduce into the host cell factory. In this review we discuss how this can be achieved by design of engineered promoters that enable concerted control of recombinant gene transcription. We describe the specific mechanisms of transcriptional regulation that affect promoter function during bioproduction processes, and detail the highly-specific promoter design criteria that are required in the context of CHO cell engineering. The relative applicability of diverse promoter development strategies are discussed, including re-engineering of natural sequences, design of synthetic transcription factor-based systems, and construction of synthetic promoters. This review highlights the potential of promoter engineering to achieve precision transcriptional control for CHO cell synthetic biology. Copyright © 2015. Published by Elsevier Inc.

  5. CADDIS Volume 4. Data Analysis: Biological and Environmental Data Requirements

    Science.gov (United States)

    Overview of PECBO Module, using scripts to infer environmental conditions from biological observations, statistically estimating species-environment relationships, methods for inferring environmental conditions, statistical scripts in module.

  6. Application of synthetic biology for production of chemicals in yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Li, Mingji; Borodina, Irina

    2015-02-01

    Synthetic biology and metabolic engineering enable generation of novel cell factories that efficiently convert renewable feedstocks into biofuels, bulk, and fine chemicals, thus creating the basis for biosustainable economy independent on fossil resources. While over a hundred proof-of-concept chemicals have been made in yeast, only a very small fraction of those has reached commercial-scale production so far. The limiting factor is the high research cost associated with the development of a robust cell factory that can produce the desired chemical at high titer, rate, and yield. Synthetic biology has the potential to bring down this cost by improving our ability to predictably engineer biological systems. This review highlights synthetic biology applications for design, assembly, and optimization of non-native biochemical pathways in baker's yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae We describe computational tools for the prediction of biochemical pathways, molecular biology methods for assembly of DNA parts into pathways, and for introducing the pathways into the host, and finally approaches for optimizing performance of the introduced pathways. © FEMS 2015. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: journals.permission@oup.com.

  7. Systems and synthetic biology approaches to alter plant cell walls and reduce biomass recalcitrance.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kalluri, Udaya C; Yin, Hengfu; Yang, Xiaohan; Davison, Brian H

    2014-12-01

    Fine-tuning plant cell wall properties to render plant biomass more amenable to biofuel conversion is a colossal challenge. A deep knowledge of the biosynthesis and regulation of plant cell wall and a high-precision genome engineering toolset are the two essential pillars of efforts to alter plant cell walls and reduce biomass recalcitrance. The past decade has seen a meteoric rise in use of transcriptomics and high-resolution imaging methods resulting in fresh insights into composition, structure, formation and deconstruction of plant cell walls. Subsequent gene manipulation approaches, however, commonly include ubiquitous mis-expression of a single candidate gene in a host that carries an intact copy of the native gene. The challenges posed by pleiotropic and unintended changes resulting from such an approach are moving the field towards synthetic biology approaches. Synthetic biology builds on a systems biology knowledge base and leverages high-precision tools for high-throughput assembly of multigene constructs and pathways, precision genome editing and site-specific gene stacking, silencing and/or removal. Here, we summarize the recent breakthroughs in biosynthesis and remodelling of major secondary cell wall components, assess the impediments in obtaining a systems-level understanding and explore the potential opportunities in leveraging synthetic biology approaches to reduce biomass recalcitrance. Published 2014. This article is a U.S. Government work and is in the public domain in the USA. Plant Biotechnology Journal published by Society for Experimental Biology and The Association of Applied Biologists and John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  8. A new strategy to deliver synthetic protein drugs: self-reproducible biologics using minicircles.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yi, Hyoju; Kim, Youngkyun; Kim, Juryun; Jung, Hyerin; Rim, Yeri Alice; Jung, Seung Min; Park, Sung-Hwan; Ju, Ji Hyeon

    2014-08-05

    Biologics are the most successful drugs used in anticytokine therapy. However, they remain partially unsuccessful because of the elevated cost of their synthesis and purification. Development of novel biologics has also been hampered by the high cost. Biologics are made of protein components; thus, theoretically, they can be produced in vivo. Here we tried to invent a novel strategy to allow the production of synthetic drugs in vivo by the host itself. The recombinant minicircles encoding etanercept or tocilizumab, which are synthesized currently by pharmaceutical companies, were injected intravenously into animal models. Self-reproduced etanercept and tocilizumab were detected in the serum of mice. Moreover, arthritis subsided in mice that were injected with minicircle vectors carrying biologics. Self-reproducible biologics need neither factory facilities for drug production nor clinical processes, such as frequent drug injection. Although this novel strategy is in its very early conceptual stage, it seems to represent a potential alternative method for the delivery of biologics.

  9. Biotechnology and synthetic biology approaches for metabolic engineering of bioenergy crops.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Shih, Patrick M; Liang, Yan; Loqué, Dominique

    2016-07-01

    The Green Revolution has fuelled an exponential growth in human population since the mid-20th century. Due to population growth, food and energy demands will soon surpass supply capabilities. To overcome these impending problems, significant improvements in genetic engineering will be needed to complement breeding efforts in order to accelerate the improvement of agronomical traits. The new field of plant synthetic biology has emerged in recent years and is expected to support rapid, precise, and robust engineering of plants. In this review, we present recent advances made in the field of plant synthetic biology, specifically in genome editing, transgene expression regulation, and bioenergy crop engineering, with a focus on traits related to lignocellulose, oil, and soluble sugars. Ultimately, progress and innovation in these fields may facilitate the development of beneficial traits in crop plants to meet society's bioenergy needs. © 2016 The Authors. The Plant Journal published by Society for Experimental Biology and John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  10. Bacteriophage-based synthetic biology for the study of infectious diseases

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lu, Timothy K.

    2014-01-01

    Since their discovery, bacteriophages have contributed enormously to our understanding of molecular biology as model systems. Furthermore, bacteriophages have provided many tools that have advanced the fields of genetic engineering and synthetic biology. Here, we discuss bacteriophage-based technologies and their application to the study of infectious diseases. New strategies for engineering genomes have the potential to accelerate the design of novel phages as therapies, diagnostics, and tools. Though almost a century has elapsed since their discovery, bacteriophages continue to have a major impact on modern biological sciences, especially with the growth of multidrug-resistant bacteria and interest in the microbiome. PMID:24997401

  11. EcoFlex: A Multifunctional MoClo Kit for E. coli Synthetic Biology.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Moore, Simon J; Lai, Hung-En; Kelwick, Richard J R; Chee, Soo Mei; Bell, David J; Polizzi, Karen Marie; Freemont, Paul S

    2016-10-21

    Golden Gate cloning is a prominent DNA assembly tool in synthetic biology for the assembly of plasmid constructs often used in combinatorial pathway optimization, with a number of assembly kits developed specifically for yeast and plant-based expression. However, its use for synthetic biology in commonly used bacterial systems such as Escherichia coli has surprisingly been overlooked. Here, we introduce EcoFlex a simplified modular package of DNA parts for a variety of applications in E. coli, cell-free protein synthesis, protein purification and hierarchical assembly of transcription units based on the MoClo assembly standard. The kit features a library of constitutive promoters, T7 expression, RBS strength variants, synthetic terminators, protein purification tags and fluorescence proteins. We validate EcoFlex by assembling a 68-part containing (20 genes) plasmid (31 kb), characterize in vivo and in vitro library parts, and perform combinatorial pathway assembly, using pooled libraries of either fluorescent proteins or the biosynthetic genes for the antimicrobial pigment violacein as a proof-of-concept. To minimize pathway screening, we also introduce a secondary module design site to simplify MoClo pathway optimization. In summary, EcoFlex provides a standardized and multifunctional kit for a variety of applications in E. coli synthetic biology.

  12. Recent advances of molecular toolbox construction expand Pichia pastoris in synthetic biology applications.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kang, Zhen; Huang, Hao; Zhang, Yunfeng; Du, Guocheng; Chen, Jian

    2017-01-01

    Pichia pastoris: (reclassified as Komagataella phaffii), a methylotrophic yeast strain has been widely used for heterologous protein production because of its unique advantages, such as readily achievable high-density fermentation, tractable genetic modifications and typical eukaryotic post-translational modifications. More recently, P. pastoris as a metabolic pathway engineering platform has also gained much attention. In this mini-review, we addressed recent advances of molecular toolboxes, including synthetic promoters, signal peptides, and genome engineering tools that established for P. pastoris. Furthermore, the applications of P. pastoris towards synthetic biology were also discussed and prospected especially in the context of genome-scale metabolic pathway analysis.

  13. Microbial Extremophiles for Earth and Beyond: Pushing the Boundaries with Synthetic Biology

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rothschild, Lynn J.

    2017-01-01

    All organisms live in a multi-dimensional physical and chemical niche space. Discoveries in the 20th century enormously expanded the range of what was considered "habitable." However, the current diversity of life on Earth begs the question of what terrestrial life - or indeed, another life form - would be capable of. With the needs of both modern laboratory science and the burgeoning field of biotechnology, as well as our deeply held desire to answer the question "are we alone in the universe?, we are exploiting the tools of synthetic biology to probe the question of whether we can create "synthetic extremophiles" or, as our lab has dubbed them, "Hell Cells."

  14. Properties of meshes used in hernia repair: a comprehensive review of synthetic and biologic meshes.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ibrahim, Ahmed M S; Vargas, Christina R; Colakoglu, Salih; Nguyen, John T; Lin, Samuel J; Lee, Bernard T

    2015-02-01

    Data on the mechanical properties of the adult human abdominal wall have been difficult to obtain rendering manufacture of the ideal mesh for ventral hernia repair a challenge. An ideal mesh would need to exhibit greater biomechanical strength and elasticity than that of the abdominal wall. The aim of this study is to quantitatively compare the biomechanical properties of the most commonly used synthetic and biologic meshes in ventral hernia repair and presents a comprehensive literature review. A narrative review of the literature was performed using the PubMed database spanning articles from 1982 to 2012 including a review of company Web sites to identify all available information relating to the biomechanical properties of various synthetic and biologic meshes used in ventral hernia repair. There exist differences in the mechanical properties and the chemical nature of different meshes. In general, most synthetic materials have greater stiffness and elasticity than what is required for abdominal wall reconstruction; however, each exhibits unique properties that may be beneficial for clinical use. On the contrary, biologic meshes are more elastic but less stiff and with a lower tensile strength than their synthetic counterparts. The current standard of practice for the treatment of ventral hernias is the use of permanent synthetic mesh material. Recently, biologic meshes have become more frequently used. Most meshes exhibit biomechanical properties over the known abdominal wall thresholds. Augmenting strength requires increasing amounts of material contributing to more stiffness and foreign body reaction, which is not necessarily an advantage. Thieme Medical Publishers 333 Seventh Avenue, New York, NY 10001, USA.

  15. Synthetic

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Anna Maria Manferdini

    2010-06-01

    Full Text Available Traditionally materials have been associated with a series of physical properties that can be used as inputs to production and manufacturing. Recently we witnessed an interest in materials considered not only as ‘true matter’, but also as new breeds where geometry, texture, tooling and finish are able to provoke new sensations when they are applied to a substance. These artificial materials can be described as synthetic because they are the outcome of various qualities that are not necessarily true to the original matter, but they are the combination of two or more parts, whether by design or by natural processes. The aim of this paper is to investigate the potential of architectural surfaces to produce effects through the invention of new breeds of artificial matter, using micro-scale details derived from Nature as an inspiration.

  16. Rewiring cells: synthetic biology as a tool to interrogate the organizational principles of living systems.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bashor, Caleb J; Horwitz, Andrew A; Peisajovich, Sergio G; Lim, Wendell A

    2010-01-01

    The living cell is an incredibly complex entity, and the goal of predictively and quantitatively understanding its function is one of the next great challenges in biology. Much of what we know about the cell concerns its constituent parts, but to a great extent we have yet to decode how these parts are organized to yield complex physiological function. Classically, we have learned about the organization of cellular networks by disrupting them through genetic or chemical means. The emerging discipline of synthetic biology offers an additional, powerful approach to study systems. By rearranging the parts that comprise existing networks, we can gain valuable insight into the hierarchical logic of the networks and identify the modular building blocks that evolution uses to generate innovative function. In addition, by building minimal toy networks, one can systematically explore the relationship between network structure and function. Here, we outline recent work that uses synthetic biology approaches to investigate the organization and function of cellular networks, and describe a vision for a synthetic biology toolkit that could be used to interrogate the design principles of diverse systems.

  17. The SBOL Stack: A Platform for Storing, Publishing, and Sharing Synthetic Biology Designs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Madsen, Curtis; McLaughlin, James Alastair; Mısırlı, Göksel; Pocock, Matthew; Flanagan, Keith; Hallinan, Jennifer; Wipat, Anil

    2016-06-17

    Recently, synthetic biologists have developed the Synthetic Biology Open Language (SBOL), a data exchange standard for descriptions of genetic parts, devices, modules, and systems. The goals of this standard are to allow scientists to exchange designs of biological parts and systems, to facilitate the storage of genetic designs in repositories, and to facilitate the description of genetic designs in publications. In order to achieve these goals, the development of an infrastructure to store, retrieve, and exchange SBOL data is necessary. To address this problem, we have developed the SBOL Stack, a Resource Description Framework (RDF) database specifically designed for the storage, integration, and publication of SBOL data. This database allows users to define a library of synthetic parts and designs as a service, to share SBOL data with collaborators, and to store designs of biological systems locally. The database also allows external data sources to be integrated by mapping them to the SBOL data model. The SBOL Stack includes two Web interfaces: the SBOL Stack API and SynBioHub. While the former is designed for developers, the latter allows users to upload new SBOL biological designs, download SBOL documents, search by keyword, and visualize SBOL data. Since the SBOL Stack is based on semantic Web technology, the inherent distributed querying functionality of RDF databases can be used to allow different SBOL stack databases to be queried simultaneously, and therefore, data can be shared between different institutes, centers, or other users.

  18. Properties of alternative microbial hosts used in synthetic biology: towards the design of a modular chassis

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kim, Juhyun; Salvador, Manuel; Saunders, Elizabeth; González, Jaime; Avignone-Rossa, Claudio

    2016-01-01

    The chassis is the cellular host used as a recipient of engineered biological systems in synthetic biology. They are required to propagate the genetic information and to express the genes encoded in it. Despite being an essential element for the appropriate function of genetic circuits, the chassis is rarely considered in their design phase. Consequently, the circuits are transferred to model organisms commonly used in the laboratory, such as Escherichia coli, that may be suboptimal for a required function. In this review, we discuss some of the properties desirable in a versatile chassis and summarize some examples of alternative hosts for synthetic biology amenable for engineering. These properties include a suitable life style, a robust cell wall, good knowledge of its regulatory network as well as of the interplay of the host components with the exogenous circuits, and the possibility of developing whole-cell models and tuneable metabolic fluxes that could allow a better distribution of cellular resources (metabolites, ATP, nucleotides, amino acids, transcriptional and translational machinery). We highlight Pseudomonas putida, widely used in many different biotechnological applications as a prominent organism for synthetic biology due to its metabolic diversity, robustness and ease of manipulation. PMID:27903818

  19. Teaching Synthetic Biology, Bioinformatics and Engineering to Undergraduates: The Interdisciplinary Build-a-Genome Course

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dymond, Jessica S.; Scheifele, Lisa Z.; Richardson, Sarah; Lee, Pablo; Chandrasegaran, Srinivasan; Bader, Joel S.; Boeke, Jef D.

    2009-01-01

    A major challenge in undergraduate life science curricula is the continual evaluation and development of courses that reflect the constantly shifting face of contemporary biological research. Synthetic biology offers an excellent framework within which students may participate in cutting-edge interdisciplinary research and is therefore an attractive addition to the undergraduate biology curriculum. This new discipline offers the promise of a deeper understanding of gene function, gene order, and chromosome structure through the de novo synthesis of genetic information, much as synthetic approaches informed organic chemistry. While considerable progress has been achieved in the synthesis of entire viral and prokaryotic genomes, fabrication of eukaryotic genomes requires synthesis on a scale that is orders of magnitude higher. These high-throughput but labor-intensive projects serve as an ideal way to introduce undergraduates to hands-on synthetic biology research. We are pursuing synthesis of Saccharomyces cerevisiae chromosomes in an undergraduate laboratory setting, the Build-a-Genome course, thereby exposing students to the engineering of biology on a genomewide scale while focusing on a limited region of the genome. A synthetic chromosome III sequence was designed, ordered from commercial suppliers in the form of oligonucleotides, and subsequently assembled by students into ∼750-bp fragments. Once trained in assembly of such DNA “building blocks” by PCR, the students accomplish high-yield gene synthesis, becoming not only technically proficient but also constructively critical and capable of adapting their protocols as independent researchers. Regular “lab meeting” sessions help prepare them for future roles in laboratory science. PMID:19015540

  20. Synthetic biology as it relates to CAM photosynthesis: challenges and opportunities.

    Science.gov (United States)

    DePaoli, Henrique C; Borland, Anne M; Tuskan, Gerald A; Cushman, John C; Yang, Xiaohan

    2014-07-01

    To meet future food and energy security needs, which are amplified by increasing population growth and reduced natural resource availability, metabolic engineering efforts have moved from manipulating single genes/proteins to introducing multiple genes and novel pathways to improve photosynthetic efficiency in a more comprehensive manner. Biochemical carbon-concentrating mechanisms such as crassulacean acid metabolism (CAM), which improves photosynthetic, water-use, and possibly nutrient-use efficiency, represent a strategic target for synthetic biology to engineer more productive C3 crops for a warmer and drier world. One key challenge for introducing multigene traits like CAM onto a background of C3 photosynthesis is to gain a better understanding of the dynamic spatial and temporal regulatory events that underpin photosynthetic metabolism. With the aid of systems and computational biology, vast amounts of experimental data encompassing transcriptomics, proteomics, and metabolomics can be related in a network to create dynamic models. Such models can undergo simulations to discover key regulatory elements in metabolism and suggest strategic substitution or augmentation by synthetic components to improve photosynthetic performance and water-use efficiency in C3 crops. Another key challenge in the application of synthetic biology to photosynthesis research is to develop efficient systems for multigene assembly and stacking. Here, we review recent progress in computational modelling as applied to plant photosynthesis, with attention to the requirements for CAM, and recent advances in synthetic biology tool development. Lastly, we discuss possible options for multigene pathway construction in plants with an emphasis on CAM-into-C3 engineering. © The Author 2014. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society for Experimental Biology. All rights reserved. For permissions, please email: journals.permissions@oup.com.

  1. Biologically inspired multi-layered synthetic skin for tactile feedback in prosthetic limbs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Osborn, Luke; Nguyen, Harrison; Betthauser, Joseph; Kaliki, Rahul; Thakor, Nitish

    2016-08-01

    The human body offers a template for many state-of-the-art prosthetic devices and sensors. In this work, we present a novel, sensorized synthetic skin that mimics the natural multi-layered nature of mechanoreceptors found in healthy glabrous skin to provide tactile information. The multi-layered sensor is made up of flexible piezoresistive textiles that act as force sensitive resistors (FSRs) to convey tactile information, which are embedded within a silicone rubber to resemble the compliant nature of human skin. The top layer of the synthetic skin is capable of detecting small loads less than 5 N whereas the bottom sensing layer responds reliably to loads over 7 N. Finite element analysis (FEA) of a simplified human fingertip and the synthetic skin was performed. Results suggest similarities in behavior during loading. A natural tactile event is simulated by loading the synthetic skin on a prosthetic limb. Results show the sensors' ability to detect applied loads as well as the ability to simulate neural spiking activity based on the derivative and temporal differences of the sensor response. During the tactile loading, the top sensing layer responded 0.24 s faster than the bottom sensing layer. A synthetic biologically-inspired skin such as this will be useful for enhancing the functionality of prosthetic limbs through tactile feedback.

  2. The prospects of synthetic biology for the production of fuel from biomass

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Schaechter, V.

    2013-01-01

    When applied to engineering the metabolism of microorganisms, synthetic biology produces a broad spectrum of biomolecules from carbohydrates and, in the near future, from the biomass in general. The markets for biofuels and for chemicals are thus hooked up through a common technological core. Synthetic biology also opens new possibilities for switching from different types of biomass to different products, thus allowing for more flexibility in development strategies and eventually in industrial operations. This opening is welcomed even though the economic and societal environments hardly favors biofuels. A few more years of research and development are needed to bring these new possibilities to industrial maturity. Advanced biofuels will pass the threshold at which they become profitable and will no longer need subsidies. (author)

  3. Modular design of synthetic gene circuits with biological parts and pools.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Marchisio, Mario Andrea

    2015-01-01

    Synthetic gene circuits can be designed in an electronic fashion by displaying their basic components-Standard Biological Parts and Pools of molecules-on the computer screen and connecting them with hypothetical wires. This procedure, achieved by our add-on for the software ProMoT, was successfully applied to bacterial circuits. Recently, we have extended this design-methodology to eukaryotic cells. Here, highly complex components such as promoters and Pools of mRNA contain hundreds of species and reactions whose calculation demands a rule-based modeling approach. We showed how to build such complex modules via the joint employment of the software BioNetGen (rule-based modeling) and ProMoT (modularization). In this chapter, we illustrate how to utilize our computational tool for synthetic biology with the in silico implementation of a simple eukaryotic gene circuit that performs the logic AND operation.

  4. Metabolic Engineering for Production of Biorenewable Fuels and Chemicals: Contributions of Synthetic Biology

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Laura R. Jarboe

    2010-01-01

    Full Text Available Production of fuels and chemicals through microbial fermentation of plant material is a desirable alternative to petrochemical-based production. Fermentative production of biorenewable fuels and chemicals requires the engineering of biocatalysts that can quickly and efficiently convert sugars to target products at a cost that is competitive with existing petrochemical-based processes. It is also important that biocatalysts be robust to extreme fermentation conditions, biomass-derived inhibitors, and their target products. Traditional metabolic engineering has made great advances in this area, but synthetic biology has contributed and will continue to contribute to this field, particularly with next-generation biofuels. This work reviews the use of metabolic engineering and synthetic biology in biocatalyst engineering for biorenewable fuels and chemicals production, such as ethanol, butanol, acetate, lactate, succinate, alanine, and xylitol. We also examine the existing challenges in this area and discuss strategies for improving biocatalyst tolerance to chemical inhibitors.

  5. Synthetic constructs in/for the environment: managing the interplay between natural and engineered Biology.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schmidt, Markus; de Lorenzo, Víctor

    2012-07-16

    The plausible release of deeply engineered or even entirely synthetic/artificial microorganisms raises the issue of their intentional (e.g. bioremediation) or accidental interaction with the Environment. Containment systems designed in the 1980s-1990s for limiting the spread of genetically engineered bacteria and their recombinant traits are still applicable to contemporary Synthetic Biology constructs. Yet, the ease of DNA synthesis and the uncertainty on how non-natural properties and strains could interplay with the existing biological word poses yet again the challenge of designing safe and efficacious firewalls to curtail possible interactions. Such barriers may include xeno-nucleic acids (XNAs) instead of DNA as information-bearing molecules, rewriting the genetic code to make it non-understandable by the existing gene expression machineries, and/or making growth dependent on xenobiotic chemicals. Copyright © 2012 Federation of European Biochemical Societies. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  6. [Recent advances of synthetic biology for production of functional ingredients in Chinese materia medica].

    Science.gov (United States)

    Su, Xin-Yao; Xue, Jian-Ping; Wang, Cai-Xia

    2016-11-01

    The functional ingredients in Chinese materia medica are the main active substance for traditional Chinese medicine and most of them are secondary metabolites derivatives. Until now,the main method to obtain those functional ingredients is through direct extraction from the Chinese materia medica. However, the income is very low because of the high extraction costs and the decreased medicinal plants. Synthetic biology technology, as a new and microbial approach, can be able to carry out large-scale production of functional ingredients and greatly ease the shortage of traditional Chinese medicine ingredients. This review mainly focused on the recent advances in synthetic biology for the functional ingredients production. Copyright© by the Chinese Pharmaceutical Association.

  7. Uncritical and unbalanced coverage of synthetic biology in the Nordic press.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ancillotti, Mirko; Holmberg, Niklas; Lindfelt, Mikael; Eriksson, Stefan

    2017-02-01

    Synthetic biology will probably have a high impact on a variety of fields, such as healthcare, environment, biofuels, agriculture, and so on. A driving theme in European research policy is the importance of maintaining public legitimacy and support. Media can influence public attitudes and are therefore an important object of study. Through qualitative content analysis, this study investigates the press coverage of synthetic biology in the major Nordic countries between 2009 and 2014. The press coverage was found to be event-driven and there were striking similarities between countries when it comes to framing, language use, and treated themes. Reporters showed a marked dependence on their sources, mainly scientists and stakeholders, who thus drives the media agenda. The media portrayal was very positive, with an optimistic look at future benefits and very little discussion of possible risks.

  8. Biological and environmental reference materials in CENAM.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Arvizu-Torres, R; Perez-Castorena, A; Salas-Tellez, J A; Mitani-Nakanishi, Y

    2001-06-01

    Since 1994, when the NIST/NOAA Quality Assurance Program in Chemical Measurements was discussed in Queretaro, CENAM, the National Measurement Institute (NMI) of Mexico, has become involved in the development of reference materials. In the field of biological and environmental reference materials, in particular, the NORAMET collaboration program with NIST and NRC, and the North-American Environmental Cooperation signed among three free-trade treaty organizations, have greatly helped the development of the materials metrology program in the newly established CENAM. This paper describes some particularly significant efforts of CENAM in the development of biological and environmental reference materials, on the basis of inter-comparison studies organized with local and governmental environmental agencies of Mexico. In the field of water pollution CENAM has developed a practical proficiency testing (PT) scheme for field laboratories, as a part of registration by local government in the metropolitan area, according to the Mexican Ecological Regulation. The results from these eight PTs in the last 5 years have demonstrated that this scheme has helped ensure the reliability of analytical capability of more than 50 field laboratories in three states, Mexico, D.F., and the States of Mexico and Queretaro. Similar experience has been obtained for more than 70 service units of stack emission measurements in the three states in 1998 and 1999, as a result of the design of a PT scheme for reference gas mixtures. This PT scheme has been accomplished successfully by 30 analytical laboratories who provide monitoring services and perform research on toxic substances (Hg, methylmercury, PCB, etc.) in Mexico. To support these activities, reference samples have been produced through the NIST SRMs, and efforts have been made to increase CENAM's capability in the preparation of primary reference materials in spectrometric solutions and gas mixtures. Collaboration among NMIs has also

  9. Department of Radiation and Environmental Biology - Overview

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Cebulska-Wasilewska, A.

    2000-01-01

    Full text:The year 1999 we devoted mainly to the activities concerning our basic research, and requirements and expectations of three research projects. The environmental project from the European Community was supporting our research in the issues of human monitoring of occupational exposure to pesticides. The two other radiobiology projects from the State Committee of Research were supporting our search on the biological efficiency and its enhancement of radio-therapeutic sources of various LET radiation. We succeeded fruitful co-operation with colleagues from Academy of Mining and Metallurgy that let us go faster with modernization of our laboratory by automation of our methods for screening cytogenetic damages. A lot of efforts were paid to modify our work by automatic reports of the coordinates of aberrant metaphases, and to make a smooth work of our new and own metaphase finder. We are sure that our new and unique research tool will not only enhance the accuracy and speed of measurements, but will also be useful for the purpose of the retrospective biological dosimetry of absorbed doses. We have applied fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH) for cytogenetic studies of biological effects induced by neutrons. Now, we are looking forward to apply this technique in a combination with the DNA damage measures done by SCGE assay, to our research on mechanisms of the induction and repair, or interaction of the lesions induced by genotoxic agents. Understanding of the regulation of these processes could be a good goal for the new century to come. (author)

  10. Communicating Synthetic Biology: from the lab via the media to the broader public

    OpenAIRE

    Kronberger, Nicole; Holtz, Peter; Kerbe, Wolfgang; Strasser, Ewald; Wagner, Wolfgang

    2009-01-01

    We present insights from a study on communicating Synthetic Biology conducted in 2008. Scientists were invited to write press releases on their work; the resulting texts were passed on to four journalists from major Austrian newspapers and magazines. The journalists in turn wrote articles that were used as stimulus material for eight group discussions with select members of the Austrian public. The results show that, from the lab via the media to the general public, communication is character...

  11. SYNBIOCHEM Synthetic Biology Research Centre, Manchester – A UK foundry for fine and speciality chemicals production

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Le Feuvre RA

    2016-12-01

    Full Text Available The UK Synthetic Biology Research Centre, SYNBIOCHEM, hosted by the Manchester Institute of Biotechnology at the University of Manchester is delivering innovative technology platforms to facilitate the predictable engineering of microbial bio-factories for fine and speciality chemicals production. We provide an overview of our foundry activities that are being applied to grand challenge projects to deliver innovation in bio-based chemicals production for industrial biotechnology.

  12. Specifications of Standards in Systems and Synthetic Biology: Status and Developments in 2017

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Schreiber Falk

    2018-03-01

    Full Text Available Standards are essential to the advancement of Systems and Synthetic Biology. COMBINE provides a formal body and a centralised platform to help develop and disseminate relevant standards and related resources. The regular special issue of the Journal of Integrative Bioinformatics aims to support the exchange, distribution and archiving of these standards by providing unified, easily citable access. This paper provides an overview of existing COMBINE standards and presents developments of the last year.

  13. Synthetic Biology and Metabolic Engineering for Marine Carotenoids: New Opportunities and Future Prospects

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Chonglong Wang

    2014-09-01

    Full Text Available Carotenoids are a class of diverse pigments with important biological roles such as light capture and antioxidative activities. Many novel carotenoids have been isolated from marine organisms to date and have shown various utilizations as nutraceuticals and pharmaceuticals. In this review, we summarize the pathways and enzymes of carotenoid synthesis and discuss various modifications of marine carotenoids. The advances in metabolic engineering and synthetic biology for carotenoid production are also reviewed, in hopes that this review will promote the exploration of marine carotenoid for their utilizations.

  14. Synthetic Biology and Microbial Fuel Cells: Towards Self-Sustaining Life Support Systems

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hogan, John Andrew

    2014-01-01

    NASA ARC and the J. Craig Venter Institute (JCVI) collaborated to investigate the development of advanced microbial fuels cells (MFCs) for biological wastewater treatment and electricity production (electrogenesis). Synthetic biology techniques and integrated hardware advances were investigated to increase system efficiency and robustness, with the intent of increasing power self-sufficiency and potential product formation from carbon dioxide. MFCs possess numerous advantages for space missions, including rapid processing, reduced biomass and effective removal of organics, nitrogen and phosphorus. Project efforts include developing space-based MFC concepts, integration analyses, increasing energy efficiency, and investigating novel bioelectrochemical system applications

  15. Biological armors under impact—effect of keratin coating, and synthetic bio-inspired analogues

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Achrai, B; Wagner, H D; Bar-On, B

    2015-01-01

    A number of biological armors, such as turtle shells, consist of a strong exoskeleton covered with a thin keratin coating. The mechanical role upon impact of this keratin coating has surprisingly not been investigated thus far. Low-velocity impact tests on the turtle shell reveal a unique toughening phenomenon attributed to the thin covering keratin layer, the presence of which noticeably improves the fracture energy and shell integrity. Synthetic substrate/coating analogues were subsequently prepared and exhibit an impact behavior similar to the biological ones. The results of the present study may improve our understanding, and even future designs, of impact-tolerant structures. (paper)

  16. Synthetic biology and metabolic engineering for marine carotenoids: new opportunities and future prospects.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wang, Chonglong; Kim, Jung-Hun; Kim, Seon-Won

    2014-09-17

    Carotenoids are a class of diverse pigments with important biological roles such as light capture and antioxidative activities. Many novel carotenoids have been isolated from marine organisms to date and have shown various utilizations as nutraceuticals and pharmaceuticals. In this review, we summarize the pathways and enzymes of carotenoid synthesis and discuss various modifications of marine carotenoids. The advances in metabolic engineering and synthetic biology for carotenoid production are also reviewed, in hopes that this review will promote the exploration of marine carotenoid for their utilizations.

  17. Synthetic Biology and Metabolic Engineering for Marine Carotenoids: New Opportunities and Future Prospects

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wang, Chonglong; Kim, Jung-Hun; Kim, Seon-Won

    2014-01-01

    Carotenoids are a class of diverse pigments with important biological roles such as light capture and antioxidative activities. Many novel carotenoids have been isolated from marine organisms to date and have shown various utilizations as nutraceuticals and pharmaceuticals. In this review, we summarize the pathways and enzymes of carotenoid synthesis and discuss various modifications of marine carotenoids. The advances in metabolic engineering and synthetic biology for carotenoid production are also reviewed, in hopes that this review will promote the exploration of marine carotenoid for their utilizations. PMID:25233369

  18. Environmental assessment of wood domestic heating. Synthetic report

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    2005-12-01

    This report proposes a synthesis of the results of an environmental assessment of wood domestic heating. This study is based on a life cycle analysis which quantifies the impacts on the environment of all the related activities: fuel extraction, retailing, final use, and so on. Environmental impacts are assessed by means of different indicators: energetic assessment, greenhouse effect assessment, air pollution (acidification), water pollution (eutrophication), toxic material emissions in air and into the soils. Wood is compared to other heating sources (gas, fuel, electricity). Ways to improve this environmental assessment are discussed for the different types of wood (logs, pellets)

  19. EcoFlex: A Multifunctional MoClo Kit for E. coli Synthetic Biology.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lai, Hung-En; Moore, Simon; Polizzi, Karen; Freemont, Paul

    2018-01-01

    Development of advanced synthetic biology tools is always in demand since they act as a platform technology to enable rapid prototyping of biological constructs in a high-throughput manner. EcoFlex is a modular cloning (MoClo) kit for Escherichia coli and is based on the Golden Gate principles, whereby Type IIS restriction enzymes (BsaI, BsmBI, BpiI) are used to construct modular genetic elements (biological parts) in a bottom-up approach. Here, we describe a collection of plasmids that stores various biological parts including promoters, RBSs, terminators, ORFs, and destination vectors, each encoding compatible overhangs allowing hierarchical assembly into single transcription units or a full-length polycistronic operon or biosynthetic pathway. A secondary module cloning site is also available for pathway optimization, in order to limit library size if necessary. Here, we show the utility of EcoFlex using the violacein biosynthesis pathway as an example.

  20. Synthetic fuels and the environment: an environmental and regulatory impacts analysis

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    None

    1980-06-01

    Since July 1979 when DOE/EV-0044 report Environmental Analysis of Synthetic Liquid fuels was published the synthetic fuels program proposals of the Administration have undergone significant modifications. The program year for which the development goal of 1.5 million barrels per day is to be reached has been changed from 1990 to 1995. The program plan is now proposed to have two stages to ensure, among other things, better environmental protection: an initial stage emphasizing applied research and development (R and D), including environmental research, followed by a second stage that would accelerate deployment of those synthetic fuel technologies then judged most ready for rapid deployment and economic operation within the environmental protection requirements. These program changes have significantly expanded the scope of technologies to be considered in this environmental analysis and have increased the likelihood that accelerated environmental R and D efforts will be successful in solving principal environmental and worker safety concerns for most technologies prior to the initiation of the second stage of the accelerated deployment plan. Information is presented under the following section headings: summary; study description; the technologies and their environmental concerns (including, coal liquefaction and gasification, oil shale production, biomass and urban waste conversion); regulatory and institutional analyses; and environmental impacts analysis (including air and water quaility analyses, impacts of carbon dioxide and acid rain, water availability, solid and hazardous wastes, coal mining environmental impacts, transportation issues, community growth and change, and regional impacts). Additional information is presented in seventeen appendixes. (JGB)

  1. Synthetic biology and regulatory networks: where metabolic systems biology meets control engineering

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    He, F.; Murabito, E.; Westerhoff, H.V.

    2016-01-01

    Metabolic pathways can be engineered to maximize the synthesis of various products of interest. With the advent of computational systems biology, this endeavour is usually carried out throughin silicotheoretical studies with the aim to guide and complement furtherin vitroandin vivoexperimental

  2. Biosecurity and Open-Source Biology: The Promise and Peril of Distributed Synthetic Biological Technologies.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Evans, Nicholas G; Selgelid, Michael J

    2015-08-01

    In this article, we raise ethical concerns about the potential misuse of open-source biology (OSB): biological research and development that progresses through an organisational model of radical openness, deskilling, and innovation. We compare this organisational structure to that of the open-source software model, and detail salient ethical implications of this model. We demonstrate that OSB, in virtue of its commitment to openness, may be resistant to governance attempts.

  3. Synthetic Biology and Metabolic Engineering Approaches and Its Impact on Non-Conventional Yeast and Biofuel Production

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Madhavan, Aravind [Biotechnology Division, National Institute for Interdisciplinary Science and Technology, Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, Trivandrum (India); Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Biotechnology, Trivandrum (India); Jose, Anju Alphonsa; Binod, Parameswaran; Sindhu, Raveendran, E-mail: sindhurgcb@gmail.com; Sukumaran, Rajeev K. [Biotechnology Division, National Institute for Interdisciplinary Science and Technology, Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, Trivandrum (India); Pandey, Ashok [Biotechnology Division, National Institute for Interdisciplinary Science and Technology, Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, Trivandrum (India); Center for Innovative and Applied Bioprocessing, Mohali, Punjab (India); Castro, Galliano Eulogio [Dpt. Ingeniería Química, Ambiental y de los Materiales Edificio, Universidad de Jaén, Jaén (Spain)

    2017-04-25

    The increasing fossil fuel scarcity has led to an urgent need to develop alternative fuels. Currently microorganisms have been extensively used for the production of first-generation biofuels from lignocellulosic biomass. Yeast is the efficient producer of bioethanol among all existing biofuels option. Tools of synthetic biology have revolutionized the field of microbial cell factories especially in the case of ethanol and fatty acid production. Most of the synthetic biology tools have been developed for the industrial workhorse Saccharomyces cerevisiae. The non-conventional yeast systems have several beneficial traits like ethanol tolerance, thermotolerance, inhibitor tolerance, genetic diversity, etc., and synthetic biology have the power to expand these traits. Currently, synthetic biology is slowly widening to the non-conventional yeasts like Hansenula polymorpha, Kluyveromyces lactis, Pichia pastoris, and Yarrowia lipolytica. Herein, we review the basic synthetic biology tools that can apply to non-conventional yeasts. Furthermore, we discuss the recent advances employed to develop efficient biofuel-producing non-conventional yeast strains by metabolic engineering and synthetic biology with recent examples. Looking forward, future synthetic engineering tools’ development and application should focus on unexplored non-conventional yeast species.

  4. Synthetic Biology and Metabolic Engineering Approaches and Its Impact on Non-Conventional Yeast and Biofuel Production

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Raveendran Sindhu

    2017-04-01

    Full Text Available The increasing fossil fuel scarcity has led to an urgent need to develop alternative fuels. Currently microorganisms have been extensively used for the production of first-generation biofuels from lignocellulosic biomass. Yeast is the efficient producer of bioethanol among all existing biofuels option. Tools of synthetic biology have revolutionized the field of microbial cell factories especially in the case of ethanol and fatty acid production. Most of the synthetic biology tools have been developed for the industrial workhorse Saccharomyces cerevisiae. The non-conventional yeast systems have several beneficial traits like ethanol tolerance, thermotolerance, inhibitor tolerance, genetic diversity, etc., and synthetic biology have the power to expand these traits. Currently, synthetic biology is slowly widening to the non-conventional yeasts like Hansenula polymorpha, Kluyveromyces lactis, Pichia pastoris, and Yarrowia lipolytica. Herein, we review the basic synthetic biology tools that can apply to non-conventional yeasts. Furthermore, we discuss the recent advances employed to develop efficient biofuel-producing non-conventional yeast strains by metabolic engineering and synthetic biology with recent examples. Looking forward, future synthetic engineering tools’ development and application should focus on unexplored non-conventional yeast species.

  5. Synthetic Biology and Metabolic Engineering Approaches and Its Impact on Non-Conventional Yeast and Biofuel Production

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Madhavan, Aravind; Jose, Anju Alphonsa; Binod, Parameswaran; Sindhu, Raveendran; Sukumaran, Rajeev K.; Pandey, Ashok; Castro, Galliano Eulogio

    2017-01-01

    The increasing fossil fuel scarcity has led to an urgent need to develop alternative fuels. Currently microorganisms have been extensively used for the production of first-generation biofuels from lignocellulosic biomass. Yeast is the efficient producer of bioethanol among all existing biofuels option. Tools of synthetic biology have revolutionized the field of microbial cell factories especially in the case of ethanol and fatty acid production. Most of the synthetic biology tools have been developed for the industrial workhorse Saccharomyces cerevisiae. The non-conventional yeast systems have several beneficial traits like ethanol tolerance, thermotolerance, inhibitor tolerance, genetic diversity, etc., and synthetic biology have the power to expand these traits. Currently, synthetic biology is slowly widening to the non-conventional yeasts like Hansenula polymorpha, Kluyveromyces lactis, Pichia pastoris, and Yarrowia lipolytica. Herein, we review the basic synthetic biology tools that can apply to non-conventional yeasts. Furthermore, we discuss the recent advances employed to develop efficient biofuel-producing non-conventional yeast strains by metabolic engineering and synthetic biology with recent examples. Looking forward, future synthetic engineering tools’ development and application should focus on unexplored non-conventional yeast species.

  6. Biological and Environmental Research Network Requirements

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Balaji, V. [Princeton Univ., NJ (United States). Earth Science Grid Federation (ESGF); Boden, Tom [Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States); Cowley, Dave [Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States); Dart, Eli [Lawrence Livermore National Lab. (LLNL), Livermore, CA (United States). ESNet; Dattoria, Vince [Lawrence Livermore National Lab. (LLNL), Livermore, CA (United States). ESNet; Desai, Narayan [Argonne National Lab. (ANL), Argonne, IL (United States); Egan, Rob [Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. (LBNL), Berkeley, CA (United States); Foster, Ian [Argonne National Lab. (ANL), Argonne, IL (United States); Goldstone, Robin [Lawrence Livermore National Lab. (LLNL), Livermore, CA (United States); Gregurick, Susan [U.S. Dept. of Energy, Washington, DC (United States). Biological Systems Science Division; Houghton, John [U.S. Dept. of Energy, Washington, DC (United States). Biological and Environmental Research (BER) Program; Izaurralde, Cesar [Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States); Johnston, Bill [Lawrence Livermore National Lab. (LLNL), Livermore, CA (United States). ESNet; Joseph, Renu [U.S. Dept. of Energy, Washington, DC (United States). Climate and Environmental Sciences Division; Kleese-van Dam, Kerstin [Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States); Lipton, Mary [Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States); Monga, Inder [Lawrence Livermore National Lab. (LLNL), Livermore, CA (United States). ESNet; Pritchard, Matt [British Atmospheric Data Centre (BADC), Oxon (United Kingdom); Rotman, Lauren [Lawrence Livermore National Lab. (LLNL), Livermore, CA (United States). ESNet; Strand, Gary [National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), Boulder, CO (United States); Stuart, Cory [Argonne National Lab. (ANL), Argonne, IL (United States); Tatusova, Tatiana [National Inst. of Health (NIH), Bethesda, MD (United States); Tierney, Brian [Lawrence Livermore National Lab. (LLNL), Livermore, CA (United States). ESNet; Thomas, Brian [Univ. of California, Berkeley, CA (United States); Williams, Dean N. [Lawrence Livermore National Lab. (LLNL), Livermore, CA (United States); Zurawski, Jason [Internet2, Washington, DC (United States)

    2013-09-01

    The Energy Sciences Network (ESnet) is the primary provider of network connectivity for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science (SC), the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States. In support of SC programs, ESnet regularly updates and refreshes its understanding of the networking requirements of the instruments, facilities, scientists, and science programs that it serves. This focus has helped ESnet be a highly successful enabler of scientific discovery for over 25 years. In November 2012, ESnet and the Office of Biological and Environmental Research (BER) of the DOE SC organized a review to characterize the networking requirements of the programs funded by the BER program office. Several key findings resulted from the review. Among them: 1) The scale of data sets available to science collaborations continues to increase exponentially. This has broad impact, both on the network and on the computational and storage systems connected to the network. 2) Many science collaborations require assistance to cope with the systems and network engineering challenges inherent in managing the rapid growth in data scale. 3) Several science domains operate distributed facilities that rely on high-performance networking for success. Key examples illustrated in this report include the Earth System Grid Federation (ESGF) and the Systems Biology Knowledgebase (KBase). This report expands on these points, and addresses others as well. The report contains a findings section as well as the text of the case studies discussed at the review.

  7. Department of Radiation and Environmental Biology - Overview

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Cebulska-Wasilewska, A.

    2001-01-01

    Full text: In the year 2000 we completed our study of the genotoxic influence of occupational exposure to pesticides on human cells, and their susceptibility to radiation in particular. Examining blood samples from four countries: Greece, Hungary, Poland and Spain we found that exposure to pesticides usually resulted in an increased susceptibility to the UV-C radiation, although statistical significance could only be concluded for inhabitants of Poland. In Spain, exposure to pesticides was proved to impair the lymphocyte DNA repair capability, while for the Polish group this repair capability appeared enhanced in people exposed to pesticides (see the research reports below). The possible influence of lifestyle or particular diet on the observed national differences would probably be worth analyzing. We also investigate the biological effectiveness of therapeutic beams (neutrons and X-rays). Experimental part of such study, concerning neutrons of different mean energies, is over and the results are now being processed. Our work covers hot issues of environmental and radiation biology making us research partners to many domestic and foreign scientific institutions. Our proficiency in the field is also reflected by membership in various expert boards (e.g. evaluating research applications for the Fifth EU Framework Programme for RTD and Demonstration Activities in the field 'Environment and Health', lecturing in the 2000 NATO IOS Life Science Books). We have entered the 5 th EU Programme Scheme within the EXPAH project starting January 1, 2001. (author)

  8. Differential Interaction of Synthetic Glycolipids with Biomimetic Plasma Membrane Lipids Correlates with the Plant Biological Response.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nasir, Mehmet Nail; Lins, Laurence; Crowet, Jean-Marc; Ongena, Marc; Dorey, Stephan; Dhondt-Cordelier, Sandrine; Clément, Christophe; Bouquillon, Sandrine; Haudrechy, Arnaud; Sarazin, Catherine; Fauconnier, Marie-Laure; Nott, Katherine; Deleu, Magali

    2017-09-26

    Natural and synthetic amphiphilic molecules including lipopeptides, lipopolysaccharides, and glycolipids are able to induce defense mechanisms in plants. In the present work, the perception of two synthetic C14 rhamnolipids, namely, Alk-RL and Ac-RL, differing only at the level of the lipid tail terminal group have been investigated using biological and biophysical approaches. We showed that Alk-RL induces a stronger early signaling response in tobacco cell suspensions than does Ac-RL. The interactions of both synthetic RLs with simplified biomimetic membranes were further analyzed using experimental and in silico approaches. Our results indicate that the interactions of Alk-RL and Ac-RL with lipids were different in terms of insertion and molecular responses and were dependent on the lipid composition of model membranes. A more favorable insertion of Alk-RL than Ac-RL into lipid membranes is observed. Alk-RL forms more stable molecular assemblies than Ac-RL with phospholipids and sterols. At the molecular level, the presence of sterols tends to increase the RLs' interaction with lipid bilayers, with a fluidizing effect on the alkyl chains. Taken together, our findings suggest that the perception of these synthetic RLs at the membrane level could be related to a lipid-driven process depending on the organization of the membrane and the orientation of the RLs within the membrane and is correlated with the induction of early signaling responses in tobacco cells.

  9. Synthetic environmental indicators: A conceptual approach from the multivariate statistics

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Escobar J, Luis A

    2008-01-01

    This paper presents a general description of multivariate statistical analysis and shows two methodologies: analysis of principal components and analysis of distance, DP2. Both methods use techniques of multivariate analysis to define the true dimension of data, which is useful to estimate indicators of environmental quality.

  10. Playing God and the intrinsic value of life: moral problems for synthetic biology?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Link, Hans-Jürgen

    2013-06-01

    Most of the reports on synthetic biology include not only familiar topics like biosafety and biosecurity but also a chapter on 'ethical concerns'; a variety of diffuse topics that are interrelated in some way or another. This article deals with these 'ethical concerns'. In particular it addresses issues such as the intrinsic value of life and how to deal with 'artificial life', and the fear that synthetic biologists are tampering with nature or playing God. Its aim is to analyse what exactly is the nature of the concerns and what rationale may lie behind them. The analysis concludes that the above-mentioned worries do not give genuine cause for serious concern. In the best possible way they are interpreted as slippery slope arguments, yet arguments of this type need to be handled with care. It is argued that although we are urged to be especially vigilant we do not have sufficiently cogent reasons to assume that synthetic biology will cause such fundamental hazards as to warrant restricting or refraining from research in this field.

  11. Synthetic biology stretching the realms of possibility in wine yeast research.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jagtap, Umesh B; Jadhav, Jyoti P; Bapat, Vishwas A; Pretorius, Isak S

    2017-07-03

    It took several millennia to fully understand the scientific intricacies of the process through which grape juice is turned into wine. This yeast-driven fermentation process is still being perfected and advanced today. Motivated by ever-changing consumer preferences and the belief that the 'best' wine is yet to be made, numerous approaches are being pursued to improve the process of yeast fermentation and the quality of wine. Central to recent enhancements in winemaking processes and wine quality is the development of Saccharomyces cerevisiae yeast strains with improved robustness, fermentation efficiencies and sensory properties. The emerging science of Synthetic Biology - including genome engineering and DNA editing technologies - is taking yeast strain development into a totally new realm of possibility. The first example of how future wine strain development might be impacted by these new 'history-making' Synthetic Biology technologies, is the de novo production of the raspberry ketone aroma compound, 4-[4-hydroxyphenyl]butan-2-one, in a wine yeast containing a synthetic DNA cassette. This article explores how this breakthrough and the imminent outcome of the international Yeast 2.0 (or Sc2.0) project, aimed at the synthesis of the entire genome of a laboratory strain of S. cerevisiae, might accelerate the design of improved wine yeasts. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  12. Protein-polymer nano-machines. Towards synthetic control of biological processes

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Alexander Cameron

    2004-09-01

    Full Text Available Abstract The exploitation of nature's machinery at length scales below the dimensions of a cell is an exciting challenge for biologists, chemists and physicists, while advances in our understanding of these biological motifs are now providing an opportunity to develop real single molecule devices for technological applications. Single molecule studies are already well advanced and biological molecular motors are being used to guide the design of nano-scale machines. However, controlling the specific functions of these devices in biological systems under changing conditions is difficult. In this review we describe the principles underlying the development of a molecular motor with numerous potential applications in nanotechnology and the use of specific synthetic polymers as prototypic molecular switches for control of the motor function. The molecular motor is a derivative of a TypeI Restriction-Modification (R-M enzyme and the synthetic polymer is drawn from the class of materials that exhibit a temperature-dependent phase transition. The potential exploitation of single molecules as functional devices has been heralded as the dawn of new era in biotechnology and medicine. It is not surprising, therefore, that the efforts of numerous multidisciplinary teams 12. have been focused in attempts to develop these systems. as machines capable of functioning at the low sub-micron and nanometre length-scales 3. However, one of the obstacles for the practical application of single molecule devices is the lack of functional control methods in biological media, under changing conditions. In this review we describe the conceptual basis for a molecular motor (a derivative of a TypeI Restriction-Modification enzyme with numerous potential applications in nanotechnology and the use of specific synthetic polymers as prototypic molecular switches for controlling the motor function 4.

  13. "Knight in shining armour" or "Frankenstein's creation"? The coverage of synthetic biology in German-language media.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gschmeidler, Brigitte; Seiringer, Alexandra

    2012-02-01

    Although still a side issue in the German-language media, attention towards synthetic biology has risen clearly during the last years, in line with the first applications being presented. This paper presents findings from a content analysis of synthetic biology coverage in German-language media over the years 2004-2009. In the media, synthetic biology is not clearly separated from gene technology. News value is attributed to established categories such as persons and events. Many metaphors and analogies used in describing gene technology can also be found in the coverage of synthetic biology; however, engineering metaphors are more prominent. In addition, playfulness constitutes an aspect rarely found in genetic engineering coverage. Overall, the picture emerging is ambivalent, which leaves prospects for the further development of public debate ambiguous.

  14. Bacterial Microcolonies in Gel Beads for High-Throughput Screening of Libraries in Synthetic Biology.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Duarte, José M; Barbier, Içvara; Schaerli, Yolanda

    2017-11-17

    Synthetic biologists increasingly rely on directed evolution to optimize engineered biological systems. Applying an appropriate screening or selection method for identifying the potentially rare library members with the desired properties is a crucial step for success in these experiments. Special challenges include substantial cell-to-cell variability and the requirement to check multiple states (e.g., being ON or OFF depending on the input). Here, we present a high-throughput screening method that addresses these challenges. First, we encapsulate single bacteria into microfluidic agarose gel beads. After incubation, they harbor monoclonal bacterial microcolonies (e.g., expressing a synthetic construct) and can be sorted according their fluorescence by fluorescence activated cell sorting (FACS). We determine enrichment rates and demonstrate that we can measure the average fluorescent signals of microcolonies containing phenotypically heterogeneous cells, obviating the problem of cell-to-cell variability. Finally, we apply this method to sort a pBAD promoter library at ON and OFF states.

  15. VisBOL: Web-Based Tools for Synthetic Biology Design Visualization.

    Science.gov (United States)

    McLaughlin, James Alastair; Pocock, Matthew; Mısırlı, Göksel; Madsen, Curtis; Wipat, Anil

    2016-08-19

    VisBOL is a Web-based application that allows the rendering of genetic circuit designs, enabling synthetic biologists to visually convey designs in SBOL visual format. VisBOL designs can be exported to formats including PNG and SVG images to be embedded in Web pages, presentations and publications. The VisBOL tool enables the automated generation of visualizations from designs specified using the Synthetic Biology Open Language (SBOL) version 2.0, as well as a range of well-known bioinformatics formats including GenBank and Pigeoncad notation. VisBOL is provided both as a user accessible Web site and as an open-source (BSD) JavaScript library that can be used to embed diagrams within other content and software.

  16. From Never Born Proteins to Minimal Living Cells: two projects in synthetic biology.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Luisi, Pier Luigi; Chiarabelli, Cristiano; Stano, Pasquale

    2006-12-01

    The Never Born Proteins (NBPs) and the Minimal Cell projects are two currently developed research lines belonging to the field of synthetic biology. The first deals with the investigation of structural and functional properties of de novo proteins with random sequences, selected and isolated using phage display methods. The minimal cell is the simplest cellular construct which displays living properties, such as self-maintenance, self-reproduction and evolvability. The semi-synthetic approach to minimal cells involves the use of extant genes and proteins in order to build a supramolecular construct based on lipid vesicles. Results and outlooks on these two research lines are shortly discussed, mainly focusing on their relevance to the origin of life studies.

  17. Spies and Bloggers: New Synthetic Biology Tools to Understand Microbial Processes in Soils and Sediments

    Science.gov (United States)

    Masiello, C. A.; Silberg, J. J.; Cheng, H. Y.; Del Valle, I.; Fulk, E. M.; Gao, X.; Bennett, G. N.

    2017-12-01

    Microbes can be programmed through synthetic biology to report on their behavior, informing researchers when their environment has triggered changes in their gene expression (e.g. in response to shifts in O2 or H2O), or when they have participated in a specific step of an elemental cycle (e.g. denitrification). This use of synthetic biology has the potential to significantly improve our understanding of microbes' roles in elemental and water cycling, because it allows reporting on the environment from the perspective of a microbe, matching the measurement scale exactly to the scale that a microbe experiences. However, synthetic microbes have not yet seen wide use in soil and sediment laboratory experiments because synthetic organisms typically report by fluorescing, making their signals difficult to detect outside the petri dish. We are developing a new suite of microbial programs that report instead by releasing easily-detected gases, allowing the real-time, noninvasive monitoring of behaviors in sediments and soils. Microbial biosensors can, in theory, be programmed to detect dynamic processes that contribute to a wide range of geobiological processes, including C cycling (biofilm production, methanogenesis, and synthesis of extracellular enzymes that degrade organic matter), N cycling (expression of enzymes that underlie different steps of the N cycle) and potentially S cycling. We will provide an overview of the potential uses of gas-reporting biosensors in soil and sediment lab experiments, and will report the development of the systematics of these sensors. Successful development of gas biosensors for laboratory use will require addressing issues including: engineering the intensity and selectivity of microbial gas production to maximize the signal to noise ratio; normalizing the gas reporter signal to cell population size, managing gas diffusion effects on signal shape; and developing multiple gases that can be used in parallel.

  18. Prospective Technology Assessment of Synthetic Biology: Fundamental and Propaedeutic Reflections in Order to Enable an Early Assessment.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schmidt, Jan Cornelius

    2016-08-01

    Synthetic biology is regarded as one of the key technosciences of the future. The goal of this paper is to present some fundamental considerations to enable procedures of a technology assessment (TA) of synthetic biology. To accomplish such an early "upstream" assessment of a not yet fully developed technology, a special type of TA will be considered: Prospective TA (ProTA). At the center of ProTA are the analysis and the framing of "synthetic biology," including a characterization and assessment of the technological core. The thesis is that if there is any differentia specifica giving substance to the umbrella term "synthetic biology," it is the idea of harnessing self-organization for engineering purposes. To underline that we are likely experiencing an epochal break in the ontology of technoscientific systems, this new type of technology is called "late-modern technology." -I start this paper by analyzing the three most common visions of synthetic biology. Then I argue that one particular vision deserves more attention because it underlies the others: the vision of self-organization. I discuss the inherent limits of this new type of late-modern technology in the attempt to control and monitor possible risk issues. I refer to Hans Jonas' ethics and his early anticipation of the risks of a novel type of technology. I end by drawing conclusions for the approach of ProTA towards an early societal shaping of synthetic biology.

  19. Department of Radiation and Environmental Biology - Overview

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Cebulska-Wasilewska, A.

    2002-01-01

    Full text: The year 2001 started for us with new demanding tasks connected with participation in a new research project performed in collaboration with a excellent teams from six countries under the 5 th EU the Quality of Life Programme. The aim of the project EXPAH is to propose methods of molecular epidemiology for the risk assessment of exposure to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in the air. The exploration of cause-effect relationships for carcinogenic agents will be based on the study of exogenous and endogenous influence on DNA damage in exposed population, and will determine the relationship between biomarkers of exposure, effects and susceptibility in the exposed populations. Analysis of this damage is carried out using highly specialising multidisciplinary techniques brought together by seven laboratories specialised in chemical, biochemical and biological techniques for analysing DNA damage and repair, together with access to populations exposed to environmental pollution and experience in collecting samples. In the year 2001 all the members of the department put much effort in co-organizing 12. Meeting of the Maria Sklodowska-Curie Polish Radiation Research Society. The Meeting was held in the September in Cracow and rewarded hard work of everybody with many applauding comments for the high scientific and organization level. Our parallel activities were concentrated on arrangement and preparation of the forthcoming Course on Human Monitoring for Genetic Effects proposed to us by the Alexander Hollaender Committee of the International Environmental Mutagenesis Society. The Alexander Hollaender ''HUMOGEF'' Course will concentrate on the commonly measured biomarkers (chromosome aberrations; micronuclei; DNA damage), but others (p53 protein levels; metabolic genotypes) will also be addressed. Scientists of international standing from the fields of toxicology, molecular biology, cytogenetics, mutation, and epidemiology, will present and discuss the state

  20. A Novel Application of Synthetic Biology and Directed Evolution to Engineer Phage-based Antibiotics

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Wu, Meiye [Sandia National Lab. (SNL-CA), Livermore, CA (United States)

    2014-09-01

    The emergence of multiple drug resistant bacteria poses threats to human health, agriculture and food safety. Annually over 100,000 deaths and up to $20 billion loss to the U.S. economy are attributed to multiple drug resistant bacteria. With only four new chemical antibiotics in the drug development pipeline, we are in dire need of new solutions to address the emerging threat of multiple drug resistance. We propose a paradigm-changing approach to address the multi-drug resistant bacteria problem by utilizing Synthetic Biology (SynBio) methodologies to create and evolve “designer” bacteriophages or phages – viruses that specifically infect bacteria – to infect and kill newly emerging pathogenic bacterial strains WITHOUT the need for chemical antibiotics. A major advantage of using phage to combat pathogenic bacteria is that phages can co-evolve with their bacterial host, and Sandia can be the first in the world to establish an industrial scale Synthetic Biology pipeline for phage directed evolution for safe, targeted, customizable solution to bacterial drug resistance. Since there is no existing phage directed evolution effort within or outside of Sandia, this proposal is suitable as a high-risk LDRD effort to create the first pipeline for such an endeavor. The high potential reward nature of this proposal will be the immediate impact in decontamination and restoration of surfaces and infrastructure, with longer term impact in human or animal therapeutics. The synthetic biology and screening approaches will lead to fundamental knowledge of phage/bacteria co-evolution, making Sandia a world leader in directed evolution of bacteriophages.

  1. Combined Model of Intrinsic and Extrinsic Variability for Computational Network Design with Application to Synthetic Biology

    Science.gov (United States)

    Toni, Tina; Tidor, Bruce

    2013-01-01

    Biological systems are inherently variable, with their dynamics influenced by intrinsic and extrinsic sources. These systems are often only partially characterized, with large uncertainties about specific sources of extrinsic variability and biochemical properties. Moreover, it is not yet well understood how different sources of variability combine and affect biological systems in concert. To successfully design biomedical therapies or synthetic circuits with robust performance, it is crucial to account for uncertainty and effects of variability. Here we introduce an efficient modeling and simulation framework to study systems that are simultaneously subject to multiple sources of variability, and apply it to make design decisions on small genetic networks that play a role of basic design elements of synthetic circuits. Specifically, the framework was used to explore the effect of transcriptional and post-transcriptional autoregulation on fluctuations in protein expression in simple genetic networks. We found that autoregulation could either suppress or increase the output variability, depending on specific noise sources and network parameters. We showed that transcriptional autoregulation was more successful than post-transcriptional in suppressing variability across a wide range of intrinsic and extrinsic magnitudes and sources. We derived the following design principles to guide the design of circuits that best suppress variability: (i) high protein cooperativity and low miRNA cooperativity, (ii) imperfect complementarity between miRNA and mRNA was preferred to perfect complementarity, and (iii) correlated expression of mRNA and miRNA – for example, on the same transcript – was best for suppression of protein variability. Results further showed that correlations in kinetic parameters between cells affected the ability to suppress variability, and that variability in transient states did not necessarily follow the same principles as variability in the steady

  2. N-acylsulfonamides: Synthetic routes and biological potential in medicinal chemistry.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ammazzalorso, Alessandra; De Filippis, Barbara; Giampietro, Letizia; Amoroso, Rosa

    2017-12-01

    Sulfonamide is a common structural motif in naturally occurring and synthetic medicinal compounds. The rising interest in sulfonamides and N-acyl derivatives is attested by the large number of drugs and lead compounds identified in last years, explored in different fields of medicinal chemistry and showing biological activity. Many acylsulfonamide derivatives were designed and synthesized as isosteres of carboxylic acids, being the characteristics of these functional groups very close. Starting from chemical routes to N-acylsulfonamides, this review explores compounds of pharmaceutical interest, developed as enzymatic inhibitors or targeting receptors. © 2017 John Wiley & Sons A/S.

  3. Multiplexed genome engineering and genotyping methods applications for synthetic biology and metabolic engineering.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wang, Harris H; Church, George M

    2011-01-01

    Engineering at the scale of whole genomes requires fundamentally new molecular biology tools. Recent advances in recombineering using synthetic oligonucleotides enable the rapid generation of mutants at high efficiency and specificity and can be implemented at the genome scale. With these techniques, libraries of mutants can be generated, from which individuals with functionally useful phenotypes can be isolated. Furthermore, populations of cells can be evolved in situ by directed evolution using complex pools of oligonucleotides. Here, we discuss ways to utilize these multiplexed genome engineering methods, with special emphasis on experimental design and implementation. Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  4. Synthetic Biology Outside the Cell: Linking Computational Tools to Cell-Free Systems

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Daniel eLewis

    2014-12-01

    Full Text Available As mathematical models become more commonly integrated into the study of biology, a common language for describing biological processes is manifesting. Many tools have emerged for the simulation of in vivo systems, with only a few examples of prominent work done on predicting the dynamics of cell-free systems. At the same time, experimental biologists have begun to study dynamics of in vitro systems encapsulated by amphiphilic molecules, opening the door for the development of a new generation of biomimetic systems. In this review, we explore both in vivo and in vitro models of biochemical networks with a special focus on tools that could be applied to the construction of cell-free expression systems. We believe that quantitative studies of complex cellular mechanisms and pathways in synthetic systems can yield important insights into what makes cells different from conventional chemical systems.

  5. On Beyond Star Trek: Synthetic Biology and the Future of Space Exploration

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rothschild, Lynn J.

    2017-01-01

    A turtle carries its own habitat. While it is reliable, it costs energy. NASA makes the same trade-off when it transports habitats and other structures needed to lunar and planetary surfaces increasing upmass, and affecting other mission goals. Long-term human space presence requires periodic replenishment, adding a massive cost overhead. Even robotic missions often sacrifice science goals for heavy radiation and thermal protection. Biology has the potential to solve these problems because it can replicate and repair itself, and do a wide variety of chemical reactions including making food, fuel and materials. Synthetic biology enhances and expands life's evolved repertoire. Using organisms as feedstock, additive manufacturing could make possible the dream of producing bespoke tools, food, smart fabrics and even replacement organs on demand. Imagine what new products can be enabled by such a technology, on earth or beyond!

  6. Synthetic Biology Open Language Visual (SBOL Visual) Version 2.0

    KAUST Repository

    Cox, Robert Sidney

    2018-03-24

    People who are engineering biological organisms often find it useful to communicate in diagrams, both about the structure of the nucleic acid sequences that they are engineering and about the functional relationships between sequence features and other molecular species. Some typical practices and conventions have begun to emerge for such diagrams. The Synthetic Biology Open Language Visual (SBOL Visual) has been developed as a standard for organizing and systematizing such conventions in order to produce a coherent language for expressing the structure and function of genetic designs. This document details version 2.0 of SBOL Visual, which builds on the prior SBOL Visual 1.0 standard by expanding diagram syntax to include functional interactions and molecular species, making the relationship between diagrams and the SBOL data model explicit, supporting families of symbol variants, clarifying a number of requirements and best practices, and significantly expanding the collection of diagram glyphs.

  7. Building Better Scientists through Cross-Disciplinary Collaboration in Synthetic Biology: A Report from the Genome Consortium for Active Teaching Workshop 2010

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wolyniak, Michael J.; Alvarez, Consuelo J.; Chandrasekaran, Vidya; Grana, Theresa M.; Holgado, Andrea; Jones, Christopher J.; Morris, Robert W.; Pereira, Anil L.; Stamm, Joyce; Washington, Talitha M.; Yang, Yixin

    2010-01-01

    Synthetic biology is the application of engineering and mathematical principles to develop novel biological devices and circuits. What separates synthetic biology from traditional molecular biology is the development of standardized interchangeable DNA "parts," just as advances in engineering in the nineteenth century brought about standardized…

  8. Two sides of the same coin? The (techno)epistemic cultures of systems and synthetic biology.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kastenhofer, Karen

    2013-06-01

    Systems and synthetic biology both emerged around the turn of this century as labels for new research approaches. Although their disciplinary status as well as their relation to each other is rarely discussed in depth, now and again the idea is invoked that both approaches represent 'two sides of the same coin'. The following paper focuses on this general notion and compares it with empirical findings concerning the epistemic cultures prevalent in the two contexts. Drawing on interviews with researchers from both fields, on participatory observation in conferences and courses and on documentary analysis, this paper delineates differences and similarities, incompatibilities and blurred boundaries. By reconstructing systems and synthetic biology's epistemic cultures, this paper argues that they represent two 'communities of vision', encompassing heterogeneous practices. Understanding the relation of the respective visions of understanding nature and engineering life is seen as indispensible for the characterisation of (techno)science in more general terms. Depending on the conceptualisation of understanding and construction (or: science and engineering), related practices such as in silico modelling for enhancing understanding or enabling engineering can either be seen as incommensurable or 'two sides of one coin'. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  9. Smart DNA Fabrication Using Sound Waves: Applying Acoustic Dispensing Technologies to Synthetic Biology.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kanigowska, Paulina; Shen, Yue; Zheng, Yijing; Rosser, Susan; Cai, Yizhi

    2016-02-01

    Acoustic droplet ejection (ADE) technology uses focused acoustic energy to transfer nanoliter-scale liquid droplets with high precision and accuracy. This noncontact, tipless, low-volume dispensing technology minimizes the possibility of cross-contamination and potentially reduces the costs of reagents and consumables. To date, acoustic dispensers have mainly been used in screening libraries of compounds. In this paper, we describe the first application of this powerful technology to the rapidly developing field of synthetic biology, for DNA synthesis and assembly at the nanoliter scale using a Labcyte Echo 550 acoustic dispenser. We were able to successfully downscale PCRs and the popular one-pot DNA assembly methods, Golden Gate and Gibson assemblies, from the microliter to the nanoliter scale with high assembly efficiency, which effectively cut the reagent cost by 20- to 100-fold. We envision that acoustic dispensing will become an instrumental technology in synthetic biology, in particular in the era of DNA foundries. © 2015 Society for Laboratory Automation and Screening.

  10. Genome Engineering and Modification Toward Synthetic Biology for the Production of Antibiotics.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zou, Xuan; Wang, Lianrong; Li, Zhiqiang; Luo, Jie; Wang, Yunfu; Deng, Zixin; Du, Shiming; Chen, Shi

    2018-01-01

    Antibiotic production is often governed by large gene clusters composed of genes related to antibiotic scaffold synthesis, tailoring, regulation, and resistance. With the expansion of genome sequencing, a considerable number of antibiotic gene clusters has been isolated and characterized. The emerging genome engineering techniques make it possible towards more efficient engineering of antibiotics. In addition to genomic editing, multiple synthetic biology approaches have been developed for the exploration and improvement of antibiotic natural products. Here, we review the progress in the development of these genome editing techniques used to engineer new antibiotics, focusing on three aspects of genome engineering: direct cloning of large genomic fragments, genome engineering of gene clusters, and regulation of gene cluster expression. This review will not only summarize the current uses of genomic engineering techniques for cloning and assembly of antibiotic gene clusters or for altering antibiotic synthetic pathways but will also provide perspectives on the future directions of rebuilding biological systems for the design of novel antibiotics. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  11. Biofuel production in Escherichia coli. The role of metabolic engineering and synthetic biology

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Clomburg, James M. [Rice Univ., Houston, TX (United States). Dept. of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering; Gonzalez, Ramon [Rice Univ., Houston, TX (United States). Dept. of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering; Rice Univ., Houston, TX (United States). Dept. of Bioengineering

    2010-03-15

    The microbial production of biofuels is a promising avenue for the development of viable processes for the generation of fuels from sustainable resources. In order to become cost and energy effective, these processes must utilize organisms that can be optimized to efficiently produce candidate fuels from a variety of feedstocks. Escherichia coli has become a promising host organism for the microbial production of biofuels in part due to the ease at which this organism can be manipulated. Advancements in metabolic engineering and synthetic biology have led to the ability to efficiently engineer E. coli as a biocatalyst for the production of a wide variety of potential biofuels from several biomass constituents. This review focuses on recent efforts devoted to engineering E. coli for the production of biofuels, with emphasis on the key aspects of both the utilization of a variety of substrates as well as the synthesis of several promising biofuels. Strategies for the efficient utilization of carbohydrates, carbohydrate mixtures, and noncarbohydrate carbon sources will be discussed along with engineering efforts for the exploitation of both fermentative and nonfermentative pathways for the production of candidate biofuels such as alcohols and higher carbon biofuels derived from fatty acid and isoprenoid pathways. Continued advancements in metabolic engineering and synthetic biology will help improve not only the titers, yields, and productivities of biofuels discussed herein, but also increase the potential range of compounds that can be produced. (orig.)

  12. Growth and development and their environmental and biological determinants

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Kelly da Rocha Neves

    2016-05-01

    Conclusion: The results showed a high prevalence of stunting and below‐average results for cognitive/language development among the participating children. Both environmental and biological factors were related to growth and development. However, biological variables showed a greater association with growth, whereas environmental variables were associated with development.

  13. Engineering of synthetic, stress-responsive yeast promoters

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Rajkumar, Arun Stephen; Liu, Guodong; Bergenholm, David

    2016-01-01

    Advances in synthetic biology and our understanding of the rules of promoter architecture have led to the development of diverse synthetic constitutive and inducible promoters in eukaryotes and prokaryotes. However, the design of promoters inducibleby specific endogenous or environmental conditions...

  14. Fast and easy protocol for the purification of recombinant S-layer protein for synthetic biology applications

    KAUST Repository

    Norville, Julie E.; Kelly, Deborah F.; Knight, Thomas F.; Belcher, Angela M.; Walz, Thomas

    2011-01-01

    A goal of synthetic biology is to make biological systems easier to engineer. One of the aims is to design, with nanometer-scale precision, biomaterials with well-defined properties. The surface-layer protein SbpA forms 2D arrays naturally

  15. MinION™ nanopore sequencing of environmental metagenomes: a synthetic approach.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brown, Bonnie L; Watson, Mick; Minot, Samuel S; Rivera, Maria C; Franklin, Rima B

    2017-03-01

    Environmental metagenomic analysis is typically accomplished by assigning taxonomy and/or function from whole genome sequencing or 16S amplicon sequences. Both of these approaches are limited, however, by read length, among other technical and biological factors. A nanopore-based sequencing platform, MinION™, produces reads that are ≥1 × 104 bp in length, potentially providing for more precise assignment, thereby alleviating some of the limitations inherent in determining metagenome composition from short reads. We tested the ability of sequence data produced by MinION (R7.3 flow cells) to correctly assign taxonomy in single bacterial species runs and in three types of low-complexity synthetic communities: a mixture of DNA using equal mass from four species, a community with one relatively rare (1%) and three abundant (33% each) components, and a mixture of genomic DNA from 20 bacterial strains of staggered representation. Taxonomic composition of the low-complexity communities was assessed by analyzing the MinION sequence data with three different bioinformatic approaches: Kraken, MG-RAST, and One Codex. Results: Long read sequences generated from libraries prepared from single strains using the version 5 kit and chemistry, run on the original MinION device, yielded as few as 224 to as many as 3497 bidirectional high-quality (2D) reads with an average overall study length of 6000 bp. For the single-strain analyses, assignment of reads to the correct genus by different methods ranged from 53.1% to 99.5%, assignment to the correct species ranged from 23.9% to 99.5%, and the majority of misassigned reads were to closely related organisms. A synthetic metagenome sequenced with the same setup yielded 714 high quality 2D reads of approximately 5500 bp that were up to 98% correctly assigned to the species level. Synthetic metagenome MinION libraries generated using version 6 kit and chemistry yielded from 899 to 3497 2D reads with lengths averaging 5700 bp with up

  16. Terminator Operon Reporter: combining a transcription termination switch with reporter technology for improved gene synthesis and synthetic biology applications.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zampini, Massimiliano; Mur, Luis A J; Rees Stevens, Pauline; Pachebat, Justin A; Newbold, C James; Hayes, Finbarr; Kingston-Smith, Alison

    2016-05-25

    Synthetic biology is characterized by the development of novel and powerful DNA fabrication methods and by the application of engineering principles to biology. The current study describes Terminator Operon Reporter (TOR), a new gene assembly technology based on the conditional activation of a reporter gene in response to sequence errors occurring at the assembly stage of the synthetic element. These errors are monitored by a transcription terminator that is placed between the synthetic gene and reporter gene. Switching of this terminator between active and inactive states dictates the transcription status of the downstream reporter gene to provide a rapid and facile readout of the accuracy of synthetic assembly. Designed specifically and uniquely for the synthesis of protein coding genes in bacteria, TOR allows the rapid and cost-effective fabrication of synthetic constructs by employing oligonucleotides at the most basic purification level (desalted) and without the need for costly and time-consuming post-synthesis correction methods. Thus, TOR streamlines gene assembly approaches, which are central to the future development of synthetic biology.

  17. Natural Proline-Rich Cyclopolypeptides from Marine Organisms: Chemistry, Synthetic Methodologies and Biological Status.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fang, Wan-Yin; Dahiya, Rajiv; Qin, Hua-Li; Mourya, Rita; Maharaj, Sandeep

    2016-10-26

    Peptides have gained increased interest as therapeutics during recent years. More than 60 peptide drugs have reached the market for the benefit of patients and several hundreds of novel therapeutic peptides are in preclinical and clinical development. The key contributor to this success is the potent and specific, yet safe, mode of action of peptides. Among the wide range of biologically-active peptides, naturally-occurring marine-derived cyclopolypeptides exhibit a broad range of unusual and potent pharmacological activities. Because of their size and complexity, proline-rich cyclic peptides (PRCPs) occupy a crucial chemical space in drug discovery that may provide useful scaffolds for modulating more challenging biological targets, such as protein-protein interactions and allosteric binding sites. Diverse pharmacological activities of natural cyclic peptides from marine sponges, tunicates and cyanobacteria have encouraged efforts to develop cyclic peptides with well-known synthetic methods, including solid-phase and solution-phase techniques of peptide synthesis. The present review highlights the natural resources, unique structural features and the most relevant biological properties of proline-rich peptides of marine-origin, focusing on the potential therapeutic role that the PRCPs may play as a promising source of new peptide-based novel drugs.

  18. Synthetic biology approaches for the production of plant metabolites in unicellular organisms.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Moses, Tessa; Mehrshahi, Payam; Smith, Alison G; Goossens, Alain

    2017-07-10

    Synthetic biology is the repurposing of biological systems for novel objectives and applications. Through the co-ordinated and balanced expression of genes, both native and those introduced from other organisms, resources within an industrial chassis can be siphoned for the commercial production of high-value commodities. This developing interdisciplinary field has the potential to revolutionize natural product discovery from higher plants, by providing a diverse array of tools, technologies, and strategies for exploring the large chemically complex space of plant natural products using unicellular organisms. In this review, we emphasize the key features that influence the generation of biorefineries and highlight technologies and strategic solutions that can be used to overcome engineering pitfalls with rational design. Also presented is a succinct guide to assist the selection of unicellular chassis most suited for the engineering and subsequent production of the desired natural product, in order to meet the global demand for plant natural products in a safe and sustainable manner. © The Author 2017. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society for Experimental Biology. All rights reserved. For permissions, please email: journals.permissions@oup.com.

  19. Streptomyces venezuelae TX-TL - a next generation cell-free synthetic biology tool.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Moore, Simon J; Lai, Hung-En; Needham, Hannah; Polizzi, Karen M; Freemont, Paul S

    2017-04-01

    Streptomyces venezuelae is a promising chassis in synthetic biology for fine chemical and secondary metabolite pathway engineering. The potential of S. venezuelae could be further realized by expanding its capability with the introduction of its own in vitro transcription-translation (TX-TL) system. TX-TL is a fast and expanding technology for bottom-up design of complex gene expression tools, biosensors and protein manufacturing. Herein, we introduce a S. venezuelae TX-TL platform by reporting a streamlined protocol for cell-extract preparation, demonstrating high-yield synthesis of a codon-optimized sfGFP reporter and the prototyping of a synthetic tetracycline-inducible promoter in S. venezuelae TX-TL based on the tetO-TetR repressor system. The aim of this system is to provide a host for the homologous production of exotic enzymes from Actinobacteria secondary metabolism in vitro. As an example, the authors demonstrate the soluble synthesis of a selection of enzymes (12-70 kDa) from the Streptomyces rimosus oxytetracycline pathway. © 2017 The Authors. Biotechnology Journal published by WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim.

  20. Synthetic biology to access and expand nature’s chemical diversity

    Science.gov (United States)

    Smanski, Michael J.; Zhou, Hui; Claesen, Jan; Shen, Ben; Fischbach, Michael; Voigt, Christopher A.

    2016-01-01

    Bacterial genomes encode the biosynthetic potential to produce hundreds of thousands of complex molecules with diverse applications, from medicine to agriculture and materials. Economically accessing the potential encoded within sequenced genomes promises to reinvigorate waning drug discovery pipelines and provide novel routes to intricate chemicals. This is a tremendous undertaking, as the pathways often comprise dozens of genes spanning as much as 100+ kiliobases of DNA, are controlled by complex regulatory networks, and the most interesting molecules are made by non-model organisms. Advances in synthetic biology address these issues, including DNA construction technologies, genetic parts for precision expression control, synthetic regulatory circuits, computer aided design, and multiplexed genome engineering. Collectively, these technologies are moving towards an era when chemicals can be accessed en mass based on sequence information alone. This will enable the harnessing of metagenomic data and massive strain banks for high-throughput molecular discovery and, ultimately, the ability to forward design pathways to complex chemicals not found in nature. PMID:26876034

  1. A Synthetic-Biology-Inspired Therapeutic Strategy for Targeting and Treating Hepatogenous Diabetes.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Xue, Shuai; Yin, Jianli; Shao, Jiawei; Yu, Yuanhuan; Yang, Linfeng; Wang, Yidan; Xie, Mingqi; Fussenegger, Martin; Ye, Haifeng

    2017-02-01

    Hepatogenous diabetes is a complex disease that is typified by the simultaneous presence of type 2 diabetes and many forms of liver disease. The chief pathogenic determinant in this pathophysiological network is insulin resistance (IR), an asymptomatic disease state in which impaired insulin signaling in target tissues initiates a variety of organ dysfunctions. However, pharmacotherapies targeting IR remain limited and are generally inapplicable for liver disease patients. Oleanolic acid (OA) is a plant-derived triterpenoid that is frequently used in Chinese medicine as a safe but slow-acting treatment in many liver disorders. Here, we utilized the congruent pharmacological activities of OA and glucagon-like-peptide 1 (GLP-1) in relieving IR and improving liver and pancreas functions and used a synthetic-biology-inspired design principle to engineer a therapeutic gene circuit that enables a concerted action of both drugs. In particular, OA-triggered short human GLP-1 (shGLP-1) expression in hepatogenous diabetic mice rapidly and simultaneously attenuated many disease-specific metabolic failures, whereas OA or shGLP-1 monotherapy failed to achieve corresponding therapeutic effects. Collectively, this work shows that rationally engineered synthetic gene circuits are capable of treating multifactorial diseases in a synergistic manner by multiplexing the targeting efficacies of single therapeutics. Copyright © 2017 The American Society of Gene and Cell Therapy. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  2. Combined X-ray and neutron fibre diffraction studies of biological and synthetic polymers

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Parrot, I.M.; Urban, V.; Gardner, K.H.; Forsyth, V.T.

    2005-01-01

    The fibrous state is a natural one for polymer molecules which tend to assume regular helical conformations rather than the globular structures characteristic of many proteins. Fibre diffraction therefore has broad application to the study of a wide range of biological and synthetic polymers. The purpose of this paper is to illustrate the general scope of the method and in particular to demonstrate the impact of a combined approach involving both X-ray and neutron diffraction methods. While the flux of modern X-ray synchrotron radiation sources allows high quality datasets to be recorded with good resolution within a very short space of time, neutron studies can provide unique information through the ability to locate hydrogen or deuterium atoms that are often difficult or impossible to locate using X-ray methods. Furthermore, neutron fibre diffraction methods can, through the ability to selectively label specific parts of a structure, be used to highlight novel aspects of polymer structure that can not be studied using X-rays. Two examples are given. The first describes X-ray and neutron diffraction studies of conformational transitions in DNA. The second describes structural studies of the synthetic high-performance polymer poly(p-phenylene terephthalamide) (PPTA), known commercially as Kevlar[reg] or Twaron[reg

  3. Combined X-ray and neutron fibre diffraction studies of biological and synthetic polymers.

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Parrot, I. M. [Institut Laue-Langevin (ILL); Urban, Volker S [ORNL; Gardner, K. H. [DuPont Experimental Station; Forsyth, V. T. [Institut Laue Langevin and Keele University

    2005-04-01

    The fibrous state is a natural one for polymer molecules which tend to assume regular helical conformations rather than the globular structures characteristic of many proteins. Fibre diffraction therefore has broad application to the study of a wide range of biological and synthetic polymers. The purpose of this paper is to illustrate the general scope of the method and in particular to demonstrate the impact of a combined approach involving both X-ray and neutron diffraction methods. While the flux of modern X-ray synchrotron radiation sources allows high quality datasets to be recorded with good resolution within a very short space of time, neutron studies can provide unique information through the ability to locate hydrogen or deuterium atoms that are often difficult or impossible to locate using X-ray methods. Furthermore, neutron fibre diffraction methods can, through the ability to selectively label specific parts of a structure, be used to highlight novel aspects of polymer structure that can not be studied using X-rays. Two examples are given. The first describes X-ray and neutron diffraction studies of conformational transitions in DNA. The second describes structural studies of the synthetic high-performance polymer poly(p-phenylene terephthalamide) (PPTA), known commercially as Kevlar{reg_sign} or Twaron{reg_sign}.

  4. Combined X-ray and neutron fibre diffraction studies of biological and synthetic polymers

    Science.gov (United States)

    Parrot, I. M.; Urban, V.; Gardner, K. H.; Forsyth, V. T.

    2005-08-01

    The fibrous state is a natural one for polymer molecules which tend to assume regular helical conformations rather than the globular structures characteristic of many proteins. Fibre diffraction therefore has broad application to the study of a wide range of biological and synthetic polymers. The purpose of this paper is to illustrate the general scope of the method and in particular to demonstrate the impact of a combined approach involving both X-ray and neutron diffraction methods. While the flux of modern X-ray synchrotron radiation sources allows high quality datasets to be recorded with good resolution within a very short space of time, neutron studies can provide unique information through the ability to locate hydrogen or deuterium atoms that are often difficult or impossible to locate using X-ray methods. Furthermore, neutron fibre diffraction methods can, through the ability to selectively label specific parts of a structure, be used to highlight novel aspects of polymer structure that can not be studied using X-rays. Two examples are given. The first describes X-ray and neutron diffraction studies of conformational transitions in DNA. The second describes structural studies of the synthetic high-performance polymer poly(p-phenylene terephthalamide) (PPTA), known commercially as Kevlar® or Twaron®.

  5. Combined X-ray and neutron fibre diffraction studies of biological and synthetic polymers

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Parrot, I.M. [Institut Laue Langevin, 6 Rue Jules Horowitz, 38042 Grenoble Cedex 9 (France); Institute of Science and Technology in Medicine, Keele University Medical School, Staffordshire ST4 7QB (United Kingdom); Urban, V. [Oak Ridge National Laboratory, P.O. Box 2008, Oak Ridge, TN 37831-6100 (United States); Gardner, K.H. [Department of Materials Science and Engineering University of Delaware, Newark, DE 19719 (United States); Forsyth, V.T. [Institut Laue Langevin, 6 Rue Jules Horowitz, 38042 Grenoble Cedex 9 (France) and Institute of Science and Technology in Medicine, Keele University Medical School, Staffordshire ST4 7QB (United Kingdom)]. E-mail: tforsyth@ill.fr

    2005-08-15

    The fibrous state is a natural one for polymer molecules which tend to assume regular helical conformations rather than the globular structures characteristic of many proteins. Fibre diffraction therefore has broad application to the study of a wide range of biological and synthetic polymers. The purpose of this paper is to illustrate the general scope of the method and in particular to demonstrate the impact of a combined approach involving both X-ray and neutron diffraction methods. While the flux of modern X-ray synchrotron radiation sources allows high quality datasets to be recorded with good resolution within a very short space of time, neutron studies can provide unique information through the ability to locate hydrogen or deuterium atoms that are often difficult or impossible to locate using X-ray methods. Furthermore, neutron fibre diffraction methods can, through the ability to selectively label specific parts of a structure, be used to highlight novel aspects of polymer structure that can not be studied using X-rays. Two examples are given. The first describes X-ray and neutron diffraction studies of conformational transitions in DNA. The second describes structural studies of the synthetic high-performance polymer poly(p-phenylene terephthalamide) (PPTA), known commercially as Kevlar[reg] or Twaron[reg].

  6. Synthetic biology for manufacturing chemicals: constraints drive the use of non-conventional microbial platforms.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Czajka, Jeffrey; Wang, Qinhong; Wang, Yechun; Tang, Yinjie J

    2017-10-01

    Genetically modified microbes have had much industrial success producing protein-based products (such as antibodies and enzymes). However, engineering microbial workhorses for biomanufacturing of commodity compounds remains challenging. First, microbes cannot afford burdens with both overexpression of multiple enzymes and metabolite drainage for product synthesis. Second, synthetic circuits and introduced heterologous pathways are not yet as "robust and reliable" as native pathways due to hosts' innate regulations, especially under suboptimal fermentation conditions. Third, engineered enzymes may lack channeling capabilities for cascade-like transport of metabolites to overcome diffusion barriers or to avoid intermediate toxicity in the cytoplasmic environment. Fourth, moving engineered hosts from laboratory to industry is unreliable because genetic mutations and non-genetic cell-to-cell variations impair the large-scale fermentation outcomes. Therefore, synthetic biology strains often have unsatisfactory industrial performance (titer/yield/productivity). To overcome these problems, many different species are being explored for their metabolic strengths that can be leveraged to synthesize specific compounds. Here, we provide examples of non-conventional and genetically amenable species for industrial manufacturing, including the following: Corynebacterium glutamicum for its TCA cycle-derived biosynthesis, Yarrowia lipolytica for its biosynthesis of fatty acids and carotenoids, cyanobacteria for photosynthetic production from its sugar phosphate pathways, and Rhodococcus for its ability to biotransform recalcitrant feedstock. Finally, we discuss emerging technologies (e.g., genome-to-phenome mapping, single cell methods, and knowledge engineering) that may facilitate the development of novel cell factories.

  7. Degradation of magnesium and its alloys: dependence on the composition of the synthetic biological media.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mueller, Wolf-Dieter; de Mele, Monica Fernández Lorenzo; Nascimento, Maria Lucia; Zeddies, Miriam

    2009-08-01

    Magnesium and its alloys are highly degradable metals that are potentially useful as biomaterials, especially in orthopaedic and cardiovascular applications. However, the in vivo corrosion has proved to be too high. Because of the complexity of in vivo conditions, a careful study of the corrosion of magnesium in synthetic solutions that simulate the in vivo environment is necessary as a first approach to predict the actual in vivo situation. The aim of this work was to evaluate the influence of the electrolyte composition on the corrosion behavior of magnesium and two Mg-alloys in synthetic biological media. Pure magnesium and its alloys (AZ31 and LAE442) were employed in the experiments. Electrochemical potentiodynamic polarization curves were recorded in sodium chloride and PBS electrolytes with different chloride ion and albumin concentration. Optical and SEM observations complemented by EDX analysis were made. The results showed that magnesium corrosion is localized in chloride- and albumin-containing buffer solutions. They also showed that the chloride concentration and the presence of buffer and protein strongly affect the electrochemical behavior of magnesium and magnesium alloys.

  8. Engineering Bacteria to Search for Specific Concentrations of Molecules by a Systematic Synthetic Biology Design Method.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tien, Shin-Ming; Hsu, Chih-Yuan; Chen, Bor-Sen

    2016-01-01

    Bacteria navigate environments full of various chemicals to seek favorable places for survival by controlling the flagella's rotation using a complicated signal transduction pathway. By influencing the pathway, bacteria can be engineered to search for specific molecules, which has great potential for application to biomedicine and bioremediation. In this study, genetic circuits were constructed to make bacteria search for a specific molecule at particular concentrations in their environment through a synthetic biology method. In addition, by replacing the "brake component" in the synthetic circuit with some specific sensitivities, the bacteria can be engineered to locate areas containing specific concentrations of the molecule. Measured by the swarm assay qualitatively and microfluidic techniques quantitatively, the characteristics of each "brake component" were identified and represented by a mathematical model. Furthermore, we established another mathematical model to anticipate the characteristics of the "brake component". Based on this model, an abundant component library can be established to provide adequate component selection for different searching conditions without identifying all components individually. Finally, a systematic design procedure was proposed. Following this systematic procedure, one can design a genetic circuit for bacteria to rapidly search for and locate different concentrations of particular molecules by selecting the most adequate "brake component" in the library. Moreover, following simple procedures, one can also establish an exclusive component library suitable for other cultivated environments, promoter systems, or bacterial strains.

  9. Metabolism and toxicological analysis of synthetic cannabinoids in biological fluids and tissues.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Presley, B C; Gurney, S M R; Scott, K S; Kacinko, S L; Logan, B K

    2016-07-01

    Synthetic cannabinoids, which began proliferating in the United States in 2009, have gone through numerous iterations of modification to their chemical structures. More recent generations of compounds have been associated with significant adverse outcomes following use, including cognitive and psychomotor impairment, seizures, psychosis, tissue injury and death. These effects increase the urgency for forensic and public health laboratories to develop methods for the detection and identification of novel substances, and apply these to the determination of their metabolism and disposition in biological samples. This comprehensive review describes the history of the appearance of the drugs in the United States, discusses the naming conventions emerging to designate new structures, and describes the most prominent new compounds linked to the adverse effects now associated with their use. We review in depth the metabolic pathways that have been elucidated for the major members of each of the prevalent synthetic cannabinoid drug subclasses, the enzyme systems responsible for their metabolism, and the use of in silico approaches to assist in predicting and identifying the metabolites of novel compounds and drug subclasses that will continue to appear. Finally, we review and critique analytical methods applied to the detection of the drugs and their metabolites, including immunoassay screening, and liquid chromatography mass spectrometry confirmatory techniques applied to urine, serum, whole blood, oral fluid, hair, and tissues. Copyright © 2016 Central Police University.

  10. Engineering Bacteria to Search for Specific Concentrations of Molecules by a Systematic Synthetic Biology Design Method.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Shin-Ming Tien

    Full Text Available Bacteria navigate environments full of various chemicals to seek favorable places for survival by controlling the flagella's rotation using a complicated signal transduction pathway. By influencing the pathway, bacteria can be engineered to search for specific molecules, which has great potential for application to biomedicine and bioremediation. In this study, genetic circuits were constructed to make bacteria search for a specific molecule at particular concentrations in their environment through a synthetic biology method. In addition, by replacing the "brake component" in the synthetic circuit with some specific sensitivities, the bacteria can be engineered to locate areas containing specific concentrations of the molecule. Measured by the swarm assay qualitatively and microfluidic techniques quantitatively, the characteristics of each "brake component" were identified and represented by a mathematical model. Furthermore, we established another mathematical model to anticipate the characteristics of the "brake component". Based on this model, an abundant component library can be established to provide adequate component selection for different searching conditions without identifying all components individually. Finally, a systematic design procedure was proposed. Following this systematic procedure, one can design a genetic circuit for bacteria to rapidly search for and locate different concentrations of particular molecules by selecting the most adequate "brake component" in the library. Moreover, following simple procedures, one can also establish an exclusive component library suitable for other cultivated environments, promoter systems, or bacterial strains.

  11. Cell-surface display of enzymes by the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae for synthetic biology.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tanaka, Tsutomu; Kondo, Akihiko

    2015-02-01

    In yeast cell-surface displays, functional proteins, such as cellulases, are genetically fused to an anchor protein and expressed on the cell surface. Saccharomyces cerevisiae, which is often utilized as a cell factory for the production of fuels, chemicals, and proteins, is the most commonly used yeast for cell-surface display. To construct yeast cells with a desired function, such as the ability to utilize cellulose as a substrate for bioethanol production, cell-surface display techniques for the efficient expression of enzymes on the cell membrane need to be combined with metabolic engineering approaches for manipulating target pathways within cells. In this Minireview, we summarize the recent progress of biorefinery fields in the development and application of yeast cell-surface displays from a synthetic biology perspective and discuss approaches for further enhancing cell-surface display efficiency. © FEMS 2015. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: journals.permission@oup.com.

  12. PREditOR: a synthetic biology approach to removing heterochromatin from cells.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Molina, Oscar; Carmena, Mar; Maudlin, Isabella E; Earnshaw, William C

    2016-12-01

    It is widely accepted that heterochromatin is necessary to maintain genomic stability. However, direct experimental evidence supporting this is slim. Previous studies using either enzyme inhibitors, gene knockout or knockdown studies all are subject to the caveat that drugs may have off-target effects and enzymes that modify chromatin proteins to support heterochromatin formation may also have numerous other cellular targets as well. Here, we describe PREditOR (protein reading and editing of residues), a synthetic biology approach that allows us to directly remove heterochromatin from cells without either drugs or global interference with gene function. We find that removal of heterochromatin perturbs mitotic progression and causes a dramatic increase in chromosome segregation defects, possibly as a result of interfering with the normal centromeric localization of the chromosomal passenger complex.

  13. Synthetic Biology Approaches to Engineer Probiotics and Members of the Human Microbiota for Biomedical Applications.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bober, Josef R; Beisel, Chase L; Nair, Nikhil U

    2018-03-12

    An increasing number of studies have strongly correlated the composition of the human microbiota with many human health conditions and, in several cases, have shown that manipulating the microbiota directly affects health. These insights have generated significant interest in engineering indigenous microbiota community members and nonresident probiotic bacteria as biotic diagnostics and therapeutics that can probe and improve human health. In this review, we discuss recent advances in synthetic biology to engineer commensal and probiotic lactic acid bacteria, bifidobacteria, and Bacteroides for these purposes, and we provide our perspective on the future potential of these technologies. 277 Expected final online publication date for the Annual Review of Biomedical Engineering Volume 20 is June 4, 2018. Please see http://www.annualreviews.org/page/journal/pubdates for revised estimates.

  14. Metabolic engineering of microorganisms for biofuels production: from bugs to synthetic biology to fuels

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Kuk Lee, Sung; Chou, Howard; Ham, Timothy S.; Soon Lee, Taek; Keasling, Jay D.

    2009-12-02

    The ability to generate microorganisms that can produce biofuels similar to petroleum-based transportation fuels would allow the use of existing engines and infrastructure and would save an enormous amount of capital required for replacing the current infrastructure to accommodate biofuels that have properties significantly different from petroleum-based fuels. Several groups have demonstrated the feasibility of manipulating microbes to produce molecules similar to petroleum-derived products, albeit at relatively low productivity (e.g. maximum butanol production is around 20 g/L). For cost-effective production of biofuels, the fuel-producing hosts and pathways must be engineered and optimized. Advances in metabolic engineering and synthetic biology will provide new tools for metabolic engineers to better understand how to rewire the cell in order to create the desired phenotypes for the production of economically viable biofuels.

  15. Directed evolution combined with synthetic biology strategies expedite semi-rational engineering of genes and genomes.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kang, Zhen; Zhang, Junli; Jin, Peng; Yang, Sen

    2015-01-01

    Owing to our limited understanding of the relationship between sequence and function and the interaction between intracellular pathways and regulatory systems, the rational design of enzyme-coding genes and de novo assembly of a brand-new artificial genome for a desired functionality or phenotype are difficult to achieve. As an alternative approach, directed evolution has been widely used to engineer genomes and enzyme-coding genes. In particular, significant developments toward DNA synthesis, DNA assembly (in vitro or in vivo), recombination-mediated genetic engineering, and high-throughput screening techniques in the field of synthetic biology have been matured and widely adopted, enabling rapid semi-rational genome engineering to generate variants with desired properties. In this commentary, these novel tools and their corresponding applications in the directed evolution of genomes and enzymes are discussed. Moreover, the strategies for genome engineering and rapid in vitro enzyme evolution are also proposed.

  16. Impact of synthetic biology and metabolic engineering on industrial production of fine chemicals.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jullesson, David; David, Florian; Pfleger, Brian; Nielsen, Jens

    2015-11-15

    Industrial bio-processes for fine chemical production are increasingly relying on cell factories developed through metabolic engineering and synthetic biology. The use of high throughput techniques and automation for the design of cell factories, and especially platform strains, has played an important role in the transition from laboratory research to industrial production. Model organisms such as Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Escherichia coli remain widely used host strains for industrial production due to their robust and desirable traits. This review describes some of the bio-based fine chemicals that have reached the market, key metabolic engineering tools that have allowed this to happen and some of the companies that are currently utilizing these technologies for developing industrial production processes. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  17. The Bio:Fiction film festival: Sensing how a debate about synthetic biology might evolve.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schmidt, Markus; Meyer, Angela; Cserer, Amelie

    2015-07-01

    Synthetic biology (SB) is a new techno-scientific field surrounded by an aura of hope, hype and fear. Currently it is difficult to predict which way the public debate - and thus the social shaping of technology - is heading. With limited hard evidence at hand, we resort to a strategy that takes into account speculative design and diegetic prototyping, accessing the Bio:Fiction science film festival, and its 52 short films from international independent filmmakers. Our first hypothesis was that these films could be used as an indicator of a public debate to come. The second hypothesis was that SB would most likely not follow the debate around genetic engineering (framing technology as conflict) as assumed by many observers. Instead, we found good evidence for two alternative comparators, namely nanotechnology (technology as progress) and information technology (technology as gadget) as stronger attractors for an upcoming public debate on SB. © The Author(s) 2013.

  18. Development of Next Generation Synthetic Biology Tools for Use in Streptomyces venezuelae

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Phelan, Ryan M. [Joint BioEnergy Inst. (JBEI), Emeryville, CA (United States); Univ. of California, Berkeley, CA (United States). QB3 Inst.; Sachs, Daniel [Joint BioEnergy Inst. (JBEI), Emeryville, CA (United States); Petkiewicz, Shayne J. [Joint BioEnergy Inst. (JBEI), Emeryville, CA (United States); Barajas, Jesus F. [Joint BioEnergy Inst. (JBEI), Emeryville, CA (United States); Blake-Hedges, Jacquelyn M. [Univ. of California, Berkeley, CA (United States). Dept. of Chemistry; Thompson, Mitchell G. [Univ. of California, Berkeley, CA (United States). Dept. of Plant & Microbial Biology; Reider Apel, Amanda [Joint BioEnergy Inst. (JBEI), Emeryville, CA (United States); Rasor, Blake J. [Miami Univ., Oxford, Ohio (United States). Dept. of Biology; Katz, Leonard [Univ. of California, Berkeley, CA (United States). QB3 Inst.; Keasling, Jay D. [Joint BioEnergy Inst. (JBEI), Emeryville, CA (United States); Univ. of California, Berkeley, CA (United States). QB3 Inst.; Univ. of California, Berkeley, CA (United States). Dept. of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and Department of Bioengineering; Technical Univ. of Denmark, Kogle Alle (Denmark). Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Biosustainability

    2016-09-07

    Streptomyces have a rich history as producers of important natural products and this genus of bacteria has recently garnered attention for its potential applications in the broader context of synthetic biology. However, the dearth of genetic tools available to control and monitor protein production precludes rapid and predictable metabolic engineering that is possible in hosts such as Escherichia coli or Saccharomyces cerevisiae. In an effort to improve genetic tools for Streptomyces venezuelae, we developed a suite of standardized, orthogonal integration vectors and an improved method to monitor protein production in this host. These tools were applied to characterize heterologous promoters and various attB chromosomal integration sites. A final study leveraged the characterized toolset to demonstrate its use in producing the biofuel precursor bisabolene using a chromosomally integrated expression system. In conclusion, these tools advance S. venezuelae to be a practical host for future metabolic engineering efforts.

  19. Impact of synthetic biology and metabolic engineering on industrial production of fine chemicals

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Jullesson, David; David, Florian; Pfleger, Brian

    2015-01-01

    Industrial bio-processes for fine chemical production are increasingly relying on cell factories developed through metabolic engineering and synthetic biology. The use of high throughput techniques and automation for the design of cell factories, and especially platform strains, has played...... chemicals that have reached the market, key metabolic engineering tools that have allowed this to happen and some of the companies that are currently utilizing these technologies for developing industrial production processes....... an important role in the transition from laboratory research to industrial production. Model organisms such as Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Escherichia coli remain widely used host strains for industrial production due to their robust and desirable traits. This review describes some of the bio-based fine...

  20. Recoding aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases for synthetic biology by rational protein-RNA engineering.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hadd, Andrew; Perona, John J

    2014-12-19

    We have taken a rational approach to redesigning the amino acid binding and aminoacyl-tRNA pairing specificities of bacterial glutaminyl-tRNA synthetase. The four-stage engineering incorporates generalizable design principles and improves the pairing efficiency of noncognate glutamate with tRNA(Gln) by over 10(5)-fold compared to the wild-type enzyme. Better optimized designs of the protein-RNA complex include substantial reengineering of the globular core region of the tRNA, demonstrating a role for specific tRNA nucleotides in specifying the identity of the genetically encoded amino acid. Principles emerging from this engineering effort open new prospects for combining rational and genetic selection approaches to design novel aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases that ligate noncanonical amino acids onto tRNAs. This will facilitate reconstruction of the cellular translation apparatus for applications in synthetic biology.

  1. Environmental restoration and biological contamination: ecological and legal aspects

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ademir Reis

    2005-05-01

    Full Text Available Environmental restoration is a pressing current need. However, protected areas have been exposed to biological contamination risks because the traditional techniques of restoration frequently use exotic species. This causes some concern, since biological contamination is the second major cause of species extinction in the world. It is important to use only native species in restoration projects in order to promote an effective environmental restoration without the risk of contamination. This paper discusses some issues concerning environmental restoration, biological contamination and the need for clearer laws.

  2. Open source approaches to establishing Roseobacter clade bacteria as synthetic biology chassis for biogeoengineering

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Yanika Borg

    2016-07-01

    Full Text Available Aim. The nascent field of bio-geoengineering stands to benefit from synthetic biologists’ efforts to standardise, and in so doing democratise, biomolecular research methods. Roseobacter clade bacteria comprise 15–20% of oceanic bacterio-plankton communities, making them a prime candidate for establishment of synthetic biology chassis for bio-geoengineering activities such as bioremediation of oceanic waste plastic. Developments such as the increasing affordability of DNA synthesis and laboratory automation continue to foster the establishment of a global ‘do-it-yourself’ research community alongside the more traditional arenas of academe and industry. As a collaborative group of citizen, student and professional scientists we sought to test the following hypotheses: (i that an incubator capable of cultivating bacterial cells can be constructed entirely from non-laboratory items, (ii that marine bacteria from the Roseobacter clade can be established as a genetically tractable synthetic biology chassis using plasmids conforming to the BioBrickTM standard and finally, (iii that identifying and subcloning genes from a Roseobacter clade species can readily by achieved by citizen scientists using open source cloning and bioinformatic tools. Method. We cultivated three Roseobacter species, Roseobacter denitrificans, Oceanobulbus indolifexand Dinoroseobacter shibae. For each species we measured chloramphenicol sensitivity, viability over 11 weeks of glycerol-based cryopreservation and tested the effectiveness of a series of electroporation and heat shock protocols for transformation using a variety of plasmid types. We also attempted construction of an incubator-shaker device using only publicly available components. Finally, a subgroup comprising citizen scientists designed and attempted a procedure for isolating the cold resistance anf1 gene from Oceanobulbus indolifexcells and subcloning it into a BioBrickTM formatted plasmid. Results. All

  3. BIOLOGICAL AND SYNTHETIC MESH USE IN RECONSTRUCTIVE SURGERY IN PATIENTS WITH BREAST CANCER

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    M. V. Ermoshchenkova

    2017-01-01

    Full Text Available Introduction. In recent years, considerable success has been achieved in complex and combined treatment of breast cancer (BC. Reconstructive plastic surgery plays an important role in the rehabilitation of patients with breast cancer and it is currently considered as the causal treatment of mental disorders caused by loss of femininity and integrity of one’s own body. One-step breast reconstruction for cancer treatment makes it possible to use supplementary materials — synthetic and biological implants that can replace muscle autografts and thereby reduce trauma, blood loss, operation time, and thereby help to avoid the defect of donor areas. The authors describe the state of the art at present and demonstrate the results of their own research.Materials and methods. The object of study was 38 of breast cancer cases and 1 case of multiple gelioma caused by silicone implant rupture. 44 operations have been completed: 21 — radical subcutaneous mastectomy, 1 — subcutaneous mastectomy, 17 — skin-sparing radical mastectomy with one-step reconstruction with mesh implant (12 — titanium, 16 — polyester, 11 — acellular dermal matrix Permacol, 5 — prophylactic contralateral subcutaneous mastectomy with one-step reconstruction with silicone implant and a mesh implant due to a mutation of the BRCA1 gene. The technique of operations and the results of studies have been described in detail.Results. In the late post-operational period, the implants were removed in 5 cases: in 2 patients due to the development of inflammation of ADM, 3 — in connection with the development of bedsores and diastasis of the skin in the wound area when synthetic implants were used. From the total number of patients in the group (n = 39 excellent cosmetic results were reported in 21 cases (54%, good — in 13 (33% and unsatisfactory — in 5 (13% cases due to the removal of the implants.Conclusions. Biological and synthetic materials are significantly important

  4. Instrumentation for environmental monitoring in biological systems

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Amer, N.M.; Graven, R.M.; Budnitz, R.J.; Mack, D.A.

    1975-01-01

    A brief review of the status of instrumentation for monitoring environmental pollutants is given. Pollutants are divided into six broad categories: trace elements, pesticides and herbicides, ionizing radiation and radionuclides, asbestos and other microparticulates, and gaseous pollutants. (U.S.)

  5. Environmental and biological applications of microplasmas

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Becker, K; Koutsospyros, A; Yin, S-M; Christodoulatos, C; Abramzon, N; Joaquin, J C; Brelles-Marino, G

    2005-01-01

    Stable glow-type discharge plasmas at elevated pressures can be generated and maintained easily when the plasma is spatially confined to cavities with critical dimensions below 1 mm ('microplasmas'). We studied the properties of several atmospheric-pressure microplasmas and their use in the remediation of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and biological decontamination. The VOCs studied include individual prototypcal aliphatic and aromatic compounds as well as mixtures such as BTEX (benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and xylene). The biological systems under study included individual bacteria as well as bacterial biofilms, which are highly structured communities of bacteria that are very resistant to antibiotics, germicides, and other conventional forms of destruction

  6. Physical, chemical, and metabolic state sensors expand the synthetic biology toolbox for Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Immethun, Cheryl M; DeLorenzo, Drew M; Focht, Caroline M; Gupta, Dinesh; Johnson, Charles B; Moon, Tae Seok

    2017-07-01

    Many under-developed organisms possess important traits that can boost the effectiveness and sustainability of microbial biotechnology. Photoautotrophic cyanobacteria can utilize the energy captured from light to fix carbon dioxide for their metabolic needs while living in environments not suited for growing crops. Various value-added compounds have been produced by cyanobacteria in the laboratory; yet, the products' titers and yields are often not industrially relevant and lag behind what have been accomplished in heterotrophic microbes. Genetic tools for biological process control are needed to take advantage of cyanobacteria's beneficial qualities, as tool development also lags behind what has been created in common heterotrophic hosts. To address this problem, we developed a suite of sensors that regulate transcription in the model cyanobacterium Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803 in response to metabolically relevant signals, including light and the cell's nitrogen status, and a family of sensors that respond to the inexpensive chemical, l-arabinose. Increasing the number of available tools enables more complex and precise control of gene expression. Expanding the synthetic biology toolbox for this cyanobacterium also improves our ability to utilize this important under-developed organism in biotechnology. Biotechnol. Bioeng. 2017;114: 1561-1569. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  7. Synthetic biology meets bioprinting: enabling technologies for humans on Mars (and Earth).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rothschild, Lynn J

    2016-08-15

    Human exploration off planet is severely limited by the cost of launching materials into space and by re-supply. Thus materials brought from Earth must be light, stable and reliable at destination. Using traditional approaches, a lunar or Mars base would require either transporting a hefty store of metals or heavy manufacturing equipment and construction materials for in situ extraction; both would severely limit any other mission objectives. Long-term human space presence requires periodic replenishment, adding a massive cost overhead. Even robotic missions often sacrifice science goals for heavy radiation and thermal protection. Biology has the potential to solve these problems because life can replicate and repair itself, and perform a wide variety of chemical reactions including making food, fuel and materials. Synthetic biology enhances and expands life's evolved repertoire. Using organisms as feedstock, additive manufacturing through bioprinting will make possible the dream of producing bespoke tools, food, smart fabrics and even replacement organs on demand. This new approach and the resulting novel products will enable human exploration and settlement on Mars, while providing new manufacturing approaches for life on Earth. © 2016 The Author(s).

  8. A Synthetic Biology Project - Developing a single-molecule device for screening drug-target interactions.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Firman, Keith; Evans, Luke; Youell, James

    2012-07-16

    This review describes a European-funded project in the area of Synthetic Biology. The project seeks to demonstrate the application of engineering techniques and methodologies to the design and construction of a biosensor for detecting drug-target interactions at the single-molecule level. Production of the proteins required for the system followed the principle of previously described "bioparts" concepts (a system where a database of biological parts - promoters, genes, terminators, linking tags and cleavage sequences - is used to construct novel gene assemblies) and cassette-type assembly of gene expression systems (the concept of linking different "bioparts" to produce functional "cassettes"), but problems were quickly identified with these approaches. DNA substrates for the device were also constructed using a cassette-system. Finally, micro-engineering was used to build a magnetoresistive Magnetic Tweezer device for detection of single molecule DNA modifying enzymes (motors), while the possibility of constructing a Hall Effect version of this device was explored. The device is currently being used to study helicases from Plasmodium as potential targets for anti-malarial drugs, but we also suggest other potential uses for the device. Copyright © 2012 Federation of European Biochemical Societies. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  9. BSim: an agent-based tool for modeling bacterial populations in systems and synthetic biology.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Thomas E Gorochowski

    Full Text Available Large-scale collective behaviors such as synchronization and coordination spontaneously arise in many bacterial populations. With systems biology attempting to understand these phenomena, and synthetic biology opening up the possibility of engineering them for our own benefit, there is growing interest in how bacterial populations are best modeled. Here we introduce BSim, a highly flexible agent-based computational tool for analyzing the relationships between single-cell dynamics and population level features. BSim includes reference implementations of many bacterial traits to enable the quick development of new models partially built from existing ones. Unlike existing modeling tools, BSim fully considers spatial aspects of a model allowing for the description of intricate micro-scale structures, enabling the modeling of bacterial behavior in more realistic three-dimensional, complex environments. The new opportunities that BSim opens are illustrated through several diverse examples covering: spatial multicellular computing, modeling complex environments, population dynamics of the lac operon, and the synchronization of genetic oscillators. BSim is open source software that is freely available from http://bsim-bccs.sf.net and distributed under the Open Source Initiative (OSI recognized MIT license. Developer documentation and a wide range of example simulations are also available from the website. BSim requires Java version 1.6 or higher.

  10. The biological basis for environmental quality assessments

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Karpov, V.I.; Kudritsky, Y.K.; Georgievsky, A.B.

    1991-01-01

    A systematic approach is required to environmental quality assessments with regard to the Baltic regions in order to address the problem of pollution abatement. The proposed systematization of adaptive states stems from the general theory of adaptation. The various types of adaption are described. (AB)

  11. PIXE - Analysis for environmental and biological samples

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Baptista, G.B.

    1980-04-01

    The usefulness and accuracy of PIXE as an analytical tool in the study of trace elements in environmental samples of the Brazilian Cerrado are discussed. The report lists actual and forthcoming publications resulting from the study. The mechanism of exchange of elements in solution in water to aerosols has been investigated. For details of the procedure the reader is referred to an earlier report

  12. Synthetical bone-like and biological hydroxyapatites: a comparative study of crystal structure and morphology

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Markovic, Smilja; Veselinovic, Ljiljana; Lukic, Miodrag J; Ignjatovic, Nenad; Uskokovic, Dragan [Institute of Technical Sciences of the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts, Knez Mihailova 35/IV, 11001 Belgrade (Serbia); Karanovic, Ljiljana [Laboratory for Crystallography, Faculty of Mining and Geology, University of Belgrade, Dusina 7, 11000 Belgrade (Serbia); Bracko, Ines, E-mail: dragan.uskokovic@itn.sanu.ac.rs [Jozef Stefan Institute, Jamova 39, 1000 Ljubljana (Slovenia)

    2011-08-15

    Phase composition, crystal structure and morphology of biological hydroxyapatite (BHAp) extracted from human mandible bone, and carbonated hydroxyapatite (CHAp), synthesized by the chemical precipitation method, were studied by x-ray powder diffraction (XRD), Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) and Raman (R) spectroscopy techniques, combined with transmission electron microscopy (TEM). Structural and microstructural parameters were determined through Rietveld refinement of recorded XRD data, performed using the FullProf computing program, and TEM. Microstructural analysis shows anisotropic extension along the [0 0 l] crystallographic direction (i.e. elongated crystallites shape) of both investigated samples. The average crystallite sizes of 10 and 8 nm were estimated for BHAp and CHAp, respectively. The FTIR and R spectroscopy studies show that carbonate ions substitute both phosphate and hydroxyl ions in the crystal structure of BHAp as well as in CHAp, indicating that both of them are mixed AB-type of CHAp. The thermal behaviour and carbonate content were analysed using thermogravimetric and differential thermal analysis. The carbonate content of about 1 wt.% and phase transition, at near 790 {sup 0}C, from HAp to {beta}-tricalcium phosphate were determined in both samples. The quality of synthesized CHAp powder, particularly, the particle size distribution and uniformity of morphology, was analysed by a particle size analyser based on laser diffraction and field emission scanning electron microscopy, respectively. These data were used to discuss similarity between natural and synthetic CHAp. Good correlation between the unit cell parameters, average crystallite size, morphology, carbonate content and crystallographic positions of carbonate ions in natural and synthetic HAp samples was found.

  13. Synthetical bone-like and biological hydroxyapatites: a comparative study of crystal structure and morphology

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Markovic, Smilja; Veselinovic, Ljiljana; Lukic, Miodrag J; Ignjatovic, Nenad; Uskokovic, Dragan; Karanovic, Ljiljana; Bracko, Ines

    2011-01-01

    Phase composition, crystal structure and morphology of biological hydroxyapatite (BHAp) extracted from human mandible bone, and carbonated hydroxyapatite (CHAp), synthesized by the chemical precipitation method, were studied by x-ray powder diffraction (XRD), Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) and Raman (R) spectroscopy techniques, combined with transmission electron microscopy (TEM). Structural and microstructural parameters were determined through Rietveld refinement of recorded XRD data, performed using the FullProf computing program, and TEM. Microstructural analysis shows anisotropic extension along the [0 0 l] crystallographic direction (i.e. elongated crystallites shape) of both investigated samples. The average crystallite sizes of 10 and 8 nm were estimated for BHAp and CHAp, respectively. The FTIR and R spectroscopy studies show that carbonate ions substitute both phosphate and hydroxyl ions in the crystal structure of BHAp as well as in CHAp, indicating that both of them are mixed AB-type of CHAp. The thermal behaviour and carbonate content were analysed using thermogravimetric and differential thermal analysis. The carbonate content of about 1 wt.% and phase transition, at near 790 0 C, from HAp to β-tricalcium phosphate were determined in both samples. The quality of synthesized CHAp powder, particularly, the particle size distribution and uniformity of morphology, was analysed by a particle size analyser based on laser diffraction and field emission scanning electron microscopy, respectively. These data were used to discuss similarity between natural and synthetic CHAp. Good correlation between the unit cell parameters, average crystallite size, morphology, carbonate content and crystallographic positions of carbonate ions in natural and synthetic HAp samples was found.

  14. Synthetic biology between challenges and risks: suggestions for a model of governance and a regulatory framework, based on fundamental rights.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Colussi, Ilaria Anna

    2013-01-01

    This paper deals with the emerging synthetic biology, its challenges and risks, and tries to design a model for the governance and regulation of the field. The model is called of "prudent vigilance" (inspired by the report about synthetic biology, drafted by the U.S. Presidential Commission on Bioethics, 2010), and it entails (a) an ongoing and periodically revised process of assessment and management of all the risks and concerns, and (b) the adoption of policies - taken through "hard law" and "soft law" sources - that are based on the principle of proportionality (among benefits and risks), on a reasonable balancing between different interests and rights at stake, and are oriented by a constitutional frame, which is represented by the protection of fundamental human rights emerging in the field of synthetic biology (right to life, right to health, dignity, freedom of scientific research, right to environment). After the theoretical explanation of the model, its operability is "checked", by considering its application with reference to only one specific risk brought up by synthetic biology - biosecurity risk, i.e. the risk of bioterrorism.

  15. Working with bacteria and putting bacteria to work: The biopolitics of synthetic biology for energy in the United Kingdom.

    Science.gov (United States)

    McLeod, Carmen; Nerlich, Brigitte; Mohr, Alison

    2017-08-01

    The UK government has made significant investment into so called 'fourth-generation' biofuel technologies. These biofuels are based on engineering the metabolic pathways of bacteria in order to create products compatible with existing infrastructure. Bacteria play an important role in what is promoted as a potentially new biological industrial revolution, which could address some of the negative environmental legacies of the last. This article presents results from ethnographic research with synthetic biologists who are challenged with balancing the curiosity-driven and intrinsically fulfilling scientific task of working with bacteria, alongside the policy-driven task of putting bacteria to work for extrinsic economic gains. In addition, the scientists also have to balance these demands with a new research governance framework, Responsible Research and Innovation, which envisions technoscientific innovation will be responsive to societal concerns and work in collaboration with stakeholders and members of the public. Major themes emerging from the ethnographic research revolve around stewardship, care, responsibility and agency. An overall conflict surfaces between individual agents assuming responsibility for 'stewarding' bacteria, against funding systems and structures imposing responsibility for economic growth. We discuss these findings against the theoretical backdrop of a new concept of 'energopolitics' and an anthropology of ethics and responsibility.

  16. Environmentally based siting assessment for synthetic-liquid-fuels facilities. Final report

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    None

    1980-01-01

    A detailed assessment of the major environmental constraints to siting a synthetic fuels industry and the results of that assessment are used to determine on a regional basis the potential for development of such an industry with minimal environmental conflicts. Secondly, the ability to mitigate some of the constraining impacts through alternative institutional arrangements, especially in areas that are judged to have a low development potential is also assessed. Limitations of the study are delineated, but specifically, the study is limited geographically to well-defined boundaries that include the prime coal and oil shale resource areas. The critical factors used in developing the framework are air quality, water availability, socioeconomic capacity, ecological sensitivity, environmental health, and the management of Federally owned lands. (MCW)

  17. First human use of hybrid synthetic/biologic mesh in ventral hernia repair: a multicenter trial.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bittner, James G; El-Hayek, Kevin; Strong, Andrew T; LaPinska, Melissa Phillips; Yoo, Jin S; Pauli, Eric M; Kroh, Matthew

    2018-03-01

    Mesh options for reinforcement of ventral/incisional hernia (VIH) repair include synthetic or biologic materials. While each material has known advantages and disadvantages, little is understood about outcomes when these materials are used in combination. This multicenter study reports on the first human use of a novel synthetic/biologic hybrid mesh (Zenapro ® Hybrid Hernia Repair Device) for VIH repair. This prospective, multicenter post-market clinical trial enrolled consecutive adults who underwent elective VIH repair with hybrid mesh placed in the intraperitoneal or retromuscular/preperitoneal position. Patients were classified as Ventral Hernia Working Group (VHWG) grades 1-3 and had clean or clean-contaminated wounds. Outcomes of ventral and incisional hernia were compared using appropriate parametric tests. In all, 63 patients underwent VIH repair with hybrid mesh. Most were females (54.0%), had a mean age of 54.8 ± 10.9 years and mean body mass index of 34.5 ± 7.8 kg/m 2 , and classified as VHWG grade 2 (87.3%). Most defects were midline (92.1%) with a mean area of 106 ± 155 cm 2 . Cases were commonly classified as clean (92.1%) and were performed laparoscopically (60.3%). Primary fascial closure was achieved in 82.5% with 28.2% requiring component separation. Mesh location was frequently intraperitoneal (69.8%). Overall, 39% of patients available for follow-up at 12 months suffered surgical site events, which were generally more frequent after incisional hernia repair. Of these, seroma (23.7%) was most common, but few (8.5%) required procedural intervention. Other surgical site events that required procedural intervention included hematoma (1.7%), wound dehiscence (1.7%), and surgical site infection (3.4%). Recurrence rate was 6.8% (95% CI 2.2-16.6%) at 12-months postoperatively. Zenapro ® Hybrid Hernia Repair Device is safe and effective in VHWG grade 1-2 patients with clean wounds out to 12 months. Short-term outcomes and recurrence rate

  18. Synthetic biology for the directed evolution of protein biocatalysts: navigating sequence space intelligently

    Science.gov (United States)

    Currin, Andrew; Swainston, Neil; Day, Philip J.

    2015-01-01

    The amino acid sequence of a protein affects both its structure and its function. Thus, the ability to modify the sequence, and hence the structure and activity, of individual proteins in a systematic way, opens up many opportunities, both scientifically and (as we focus on here) for exploitation in biocatalysis. Modern methods of synthetic biology, whereby increasingly large sequences of DNA can be synthesised de novo, allow an unprecedented ability to engineer proteins with novel functions. However, the number of possible proteins is far too large to test individually, so we need means for navigating the ‘search space’ of possible protein sequences efficiently and reliably in order to find desirable activities and other properties. Enzymologists distinguish binding (K d) and catalytic (k cat) steps. In a similar way, judicious strategies have blended design (for binding, specificity and active site modelling) with the more empirical methods of classical directed evolution (DE) for improving k cat (where natural evolution rarely seeks the highest values), especially with regard to residues distant from the active site and where the functional linkages underpinning enzyme dynamics are both unknown and hard to predict. Epistasis (where the ‘best’ amino acid at one site depends on that or those at others) is a notable feature of directed evolution. The aim of this review is to highlight some of the approaches that are being developed to allow us to use directed evolution to improve enzyme properties, often dramatically. We note that directed evolution differs in a number of ways from natural evolution, including in particular the available mechanisms and the likely selection pressures. Thus, we stress the opportunities afforded by techniques that enable one to map sequence to (structure and) activity in silico, as an effective means of modelling and exploring protein landscapes. Because known landscapes may be assessed and reasoned about as a whole

  19. Use of biological indicators to evaluate environmental stress

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Letourneau, C.; Castonguay, J.

    1987-09-01

    This report examines the usefulness of biological analyses for evaluating environmental stress. All forms of stress are addressed; particular attention, however, is paid to the use of biological analyses to evaluate the impact on the environment from radioactive releases of the nuclear industry. First, we will review different biological analyses which are grouped into two approaches: the holistic approach (biotic and diversity indices) and the reductionist approach ('biological indicators' per se). Secondly, we will compare the usefulness of plants and animals as indicators based on the established criteria. This report ends with a compilation of letters received from different organizations which outline the present usage in Canada of biological indicators for evaluating environmental stress

  20. Use of biological indicators for evaluating environmental stress

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Letourneau, C.; Castonguay, J.

    1988-09-01

    This report examines the usefulness of biological analyses for evaluating environmental stress. All forms of stress are addressed; particular attention, however, is paid to the use of biological analyses to evaluate the impact on the environment from radioactive releases of the nuclear industry. First, we will review different biological analyses which are grouped into two approaches: the holistic approach (biotic and diversity indices) and the reductionist approach ('biological indicators' per se). Secondly, we will compare the usefulness of plants and animals as indicators based on the established criteria. This report ends with a compilation of letters received from different organizations which outline the present use in Canada of biological indicators for evaluating environmental stress

  1. The Future of Metabolic Engineering and Synthetic Biology: Towards a Systematic Practice

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yadav, Vikramaditya G.; De Mey, Marjan; Lim, Chin Giaw; Ajikumar, Parayil Kumaran; Stephanopoulos, Gregory

    2012-01-01

    Industrial biotechnology promises to revolutionize conventional chemical manufacturing in the years ahead, largely owing to the excellent progress in our ability to re-engineer cellular metabolism. However, most successes of metabolic engineering have been confined to over-producing natively synthesized metabolites in E. coli and S. cerevisiae. A major reason for this development has been the descent of metabolic engineering, particularly secondary metabolic engineering, to a collection of demonstrations rather than a systematic practice with generalizable tools. Synthetic biology, a more recent development, faces similar criticisms. Herein, we attempt to lay down a framework around which bioreaction engineering can systematize itself just like chemical reaction engineering. Central to this undertaking is a new approach to engineering secondary metabolism known as ‘multivariate modular metabolic engineering’ (MMME), whose novelty lies in its assessment and elimination of regulatory and pathway bottlenecks by re-defining the metabolic network as a collection of distinct modules. After introducing the core principles of MMME, we shall then present a number of recent developments in secondary metabolic engineering that could potentially serve as its facilitators. It is hoped that the ever-declining costs of de novo gene synthesis; the improved use of bioinformatic tools to mine, sort and analyze biological data; and the increasing sensitivity and sophistication of investigational tools will make the maturation of microbial metabolic engineering an autocatalytic process. Encouraged by these advances, research groups across the world would take up the challenge of secondary metabolite production in simple hosts with renewed vigor, thereby adding to the range of products synthesized using metabolic engineering. PMID:22629571

  2. The future of metabolic engineering and synthetic biology: towards a systematic practice.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yadav, Vikramaditya G; De Mey, Marjan; Lim, Chin Giaw; Ajikumar, Parayil Kumaran; Stephanopoulos, Gregory

    2012-05-01

    Industrial biotechnology promises to revolutionize conventional chemical manufacturing in the years ahead, largely owing to the excellent progress in our ability to re-engineer cellular metabolism. However, most successes of metabolic engineering have been confined to over-producing natively synthesized metabolites in E. coli and S. cerevisiae. A major reason for this development has been the descent of metabolic engineering, particularly secondary metabolic engineering, to a collection of demonstrations rather than a systematic practice with generalizable tools. Synthetic biology, a more recent development, faces similar criticisms. Herein, we attempt to lay down a framework around which bioreaction engineering can systematize itself just like chemical reaction engineering. Central to this undertaking is a new approach to engineering secondary metabolism known as 'multivariate modular metabolic engineering' (MMME), whose novelty lies in its assessment and elimination of regulatory and pathway bottlenecks by re-defining the metabolic network as a collection of distinct modules. After introducing the core principles of MMME, we shall then present a number of recent developments in secondary metabolic engineering that could potentially serve as its facilitators. It is hoped that the ever-declining costs of de novo gene synthesis; the improved use of bioinformatic tools to mine, sort and analyze biological data; and the increasing sensitivity and sophistication of investigational tools will make the maturation of microbial metabolic engineering an autocatalytic process. Encouraged by these advances, research groups across the world would take up the challenge of secondary metabolite production in simple hosts with renewed vigor, thereby adding to the range of products synthesized using metabolic engineering. Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  3. Frames and comparators: How might a debate on synthetic biology evolve?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Torgersen, Helge; Schmidt, Markus

    2013-01-01

    A stimulated early public debate is frequently advocated when introducing an emerging technology like synthetic biology (SB). To debate a still quite abstract technology, participants functionally need a frame that determines which arguments are legitimate and which issues are relevant. Often, such frames are based on previous debates over other novel technologies. Three technologies currently provide frames for discussing SB: (green) biotechnology, nanotechnology and information technology. In the biotechnology debate, risk has long been emphasised over economic benefits. More recently, nanotechnology has been referred to mostly in terms of benefits, while risks tended to be an issue for scientific discourses. This has frequently been related to the many outreach activities around nanotechnology. Information technology, finally, has retained the image of being ‘cool’ and useful on a personal level. The technology itself is taken for granted and only the consequences of particular applications have been up for discussion. Upstream engagement exercises in SB will have to consider the comparator chosen more diligently, because it might influence the debate on SB ‘out there’ in the long run. PMID:23805003

  4. Synthetic Biology Parts for the Storage of Increased Genetic Information in Cells.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Morris, Sydney E; Feldman, Aaron W; Romesberg, Floyd E

    2017-10-20

    To bestow cells with novel forms and functions, the goal of synthetic biology, we have developed the unnatural nucleoside triphosphates dNaMTP and dTPT3TP, which form an unnatural base pair (UBP) and expand the genetic alphabet. While the UBP may be retained in the DNA of a living cell, its retention is sequence-dependent. We now report a steady-state kinetic characterization of the rate with which the Klenow fragment of E. coli DNA polymerase I synthesizes the UBP and its mispairs in a variety of sequence contexts. Correct UBP synthesis is as efficient as for a natural base pair, except in one sequence context, and in vitro performance is correlated with in vivo performance. The data elucidate the determinants of efficient UBP synthesis, show that the dNaM-dTPT3 UBP is the first generally recognized natural-like base pair, and importantly, demonstrate that dNaMTP and dTPT3TP are well optimized and standardized parts for the expansion of the genetic alphabet.

  5. BIOLOGICAL AND SYNTHETIC MATERIALS IN RECONSTRUCTIVE SURGERY FOR BREAST CANCER TREATMENT (LITERATURE REVIEW

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    A. D. Zikiryakhodzhaev

    2018-01-01

    Full Text Available During the last years has been a worldwide trend towards rejuvenating breast cancer, and the evolution of reconstructive breast surgery is proceeding at a rapid pace. The surgical method is the primary method in the combined and complex treatment of breast cancer, and radical mastectomy is still the main option for surgical treatment in most Russian clinics. Most women who need a mastectomy prefer a one-stage breast reconstruction, because the woman is quickly rehabilitated psychologically and physically after this operation. Nevertheless, the use of silicone endoprostheses did not solve the problems of breast reconstruction in combined treatment in oncology. The issue remains unresolved of various complications, related not only to infections, but also to the development of capsular contracture after radiotherapy. Many patients with a one-stage breast reconstruction using a silicone endoprostheses lack the volume of their own tissues for reliable shelter of the endoprosthesis. In such cases, synthetic reticulated implants, biological implants or autologous flaps are used to cover and strengthen the lower slope of the reconstructed breast.

  6. Selection of Clostridium spp. in biological sand filters neutralizing synthetic acid mine drainage.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ramond, Jean-Baptiste; Welz, Pamela J; Le Roes-Hill, Marilize; Tuffin, Marla I; Burton, Stephanie G; Cowan, Don A

    2014-03-01

    In this study, three biological sand filter (BSF) were contaminated with a synthetic iron- [1500 mg L⁻¹ Fe(II), 500 mg L⁻¹ Fe(III)] and sulphate-rich (6000 mg L⁻¹ SO₄²⁻) acid mine drainage (AMD) (pH = 2), for 24 days, to assess the remediation capacity and the evolution of autochthonous bacterial communities (monitored by T-RFLP and 16S rRNA gene clone libraries). To stimulate BSF bioremediation involving sulphate-reducing bacteria, a readily degradable carbon source (glucose, 8000 mg L⁻¹) was incorporated into the influent AMD. Complete neutralization and average removal efficiencies of 81.5 (±5.6)%, 95.8 (±1.2)% and 32.8 (±14.0)% for Fe(II), Fe(III) and sulphate were observed, respectively. Our results suggest that microbial iron reduction and sulphate reduction associated with iron precipitation were the main processes contributing to AMD neutralization. The effect of AMD on BSF sediment bacterial communities was highly reproducible. There was a decrease in diversity, and notably a single dominant operational taxonomic unit (OTU), closely related to Clostridium beijerinckii, which represented up to 65% of the total community at the end of the study period. © 2013 Federation of European Microbiological Societies. Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd. All rights reserved.

  7. The secondary metabolite bioinformatics portal: Computational tools to facilitate synthetic biology of secondary metabolite production

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Tilmann Weber

    2016-06-01

    Full Text Available Natural products are among the most important sources of lead molecules for drug discovery. With the development of affordable whole-genome sequencing technologies and other ‘omics tools, the field of natural products research is currently undergoing a shift in paradigms. While, for decades, mainly analytical and chemical methods gave access to this group of compounds, nowadays genomics-based methods offer complementary approaches to find, identify and characterize such molecules. This paradigm shift also resulted in a high demand for computational tools to assist researchers in their daily work. In this context, this review gives a summary of tools and databases that currently are available to mine, identify and characterize natural product biosynthesis pathways and their producers based on ‘omics data. A web portal called Secondary Metabolite Bioinformatics Portal (SMBP at http://www.secondarymetabolites.org is introduced to provide a one-stop catalog and links to these bioinformatics resources. In addition, an outlook is presented how the existing tools and those to be developed will influence synthetic biology approaches in the natural products field.

  8. In vitro studies of copper release from powder particles in synthetic biological media

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Midander, Klara; Wallinder, Inger Odnevall; Leygraf, Christofer

    2007-01-01

    The aim of this paper is to provide quantitative data on copper release from powder particles of different copper materials, including artificial copper patina, Cu 2 O and metallic Cu, when exposed to different synthetic biological media to simulate an inhalation scenario and/or skin contact. Generated data may contribute in risk assessment of potential health effects following exposure to and handling of various copper materials. All tests were performed in vitro to determine total copper concentrations, release rates of total copper, and to elucidate its time-dependence. The copper release process was interpreted in terms of specific surface area, surface morphology-, and composition. All powder materials show a time-dependent release process with total copper release rates less than 3 μg/cm 2 per hour at steady state conditions, for all media investigated. The importance of using relevant test media when simulating different interstitial lung conditions and difficulties encountered when comparing powder particles of essentially different properties are thoroughly discussed. - Copper release rates from particles are essential to assess potential health aspects

  9. Frames and comparators: How might a debate on synthetic biology evolve?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Torgersen, Helge; Schmidt, Markus

    2013-04-01

    A stimulated early public debate is frequently advocated when introducing an emerging technology like synthetic biology (SB). To debate a still quite abstract technology, participants functionally need a frame that determines which arguments are legitimate and which issues are relevant. Often, such frames are based on previous debates over other novel technologies. Three technologies currently provide frames for discussing SB: (green) biotechnology, nanotechnology and information technology. In the biotechnology debate, risk has long been emphasised over economic benefits. More recently, nanotechnology has been referred to mostly in terms of benefits, while risks tended to be an issue for scientific discourses. This has frequently been related to the many outreach activities around nanotechnology. Information technology, finally, has retained the image of being 'cool' and useful on a personal level. The technology itself is taken for granted and only the consequences of particular applications have been up for discussion. Upstream engagement exercises in SB will have to consider the comparator chosen more diligently, because it might influence the debate on SB 'out there' in the long run.

  10. Adoptive T cell transfer for cancer immunotherapy in the era of synthetic biology.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kalos, Michael; June, Carl H

    2013-07-25

    Adoptive T cell transfer for cancer and chronic infection is an emerging field that shows promise in recent trials. Synthetic-biology-based engineering of T lymphocytes to express high-affinity antigen receptors can overcome immune tolerance, which has been a major limitation of immunotherapy-based strategies. Advances in cell engineering and culture approaches to enable efficient gene transfer and ex vivo cell expansion have facilitated broader evaluation of this technology, moving adoptive transfer from a "boutique" application to the cusp of a mainstream technology. The major challenge currently facing the field is to increase the specificity of engineered T cells for tumors, because targeting shared antigens has the potential to lead to on-target off-tumor toxicities, as observed in recent trials. As the field of adoptive transfer technology matures, the major engineering challenge is the development of automated cell culture systems, so that the approach can extend beyond specialized academic centers and become widely available. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  11. Emerging concepts promising new horizons for marine biodiscovery and synthetic biology.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Reen, F Jerry; Gutiérrez-Barranquero, José A; Dobson, Alan D W; Adams, Claire; O'Gara, Fergal

    2015-05-13

    The vast oceans of the world, which comprise a huge variety of unique ecosystems, are emerging as a rich and relatively untapped source of novel bioactive compounds with invaluable biotechnological and pharmaceutical potential. Evidence accumulated over the last decade has revealed that the diversity of marine microorganisms is enormous with many thousands of bacterial species detected that were previously unknown. Associated with this diversity is the production of diverse repertoires of bioactive compounds ranging from peptides and enzymes to more complex secondary metabolites that have significant bioactivity and thus the potential to be exploited for innovative biotechnology. Here we review the discovery and functional potential of marine bioactive peptides such as lantibiotics, nanoantibiotics and peptidomimetics, which have received particular attention in recent years in light of their broad spectrum of bioactivity. The significance of marine peptides in cell-to-cell communication and how this may be exploited in the discovery of novel bioactivity is also explored. Finally, with the recent advances in bioinformatics and synthetic biology, it is becoming clear that the integration of these disciplines with genetic and biochemical characterization of the novel marine peptides, offers the most potential in the development of the next generation of societal solutions.

  12. Endocrine disruptors: from Wingspread to environmental developmental biology.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Markey, Caroline M; Rubin, Beverly S; Soto, Ana M; Sonnenschein, Carlos

    2002-12-01

    The production and release of synthetic chemicals into the environment has been a hallmark of the "Second Industrial Revolution" and the "Green Revolution." Soon after the inception of these chemicals, anecdotal evidence began to emerge linking environmental contamination of rivers and lakes with a variety of developmental and reproductive abnormalities in wildlife species. The accumulation of evidence suggesting that these synthetic chemicals were detrimental to wildlife, and potentially humans, as a result of their hormonal activity, led to the proposal of the endocrine disruptor hypothesis at the 1991 Wingspread Conference. Since that time, experimental and epidemiological data have shown that exposure of the developing fetus or neonate to environmentally-relevant concentrations of certain synthetic chemicals causes morphological, biochemical, physiological and behavioral anomalies in both vertebrate and invertebrate species. The ubiquitous use, and subsequent human exposure, of one particular chemical, the estrogen mimic bisphenol A (BPA), is the subject of this present review. We have highlighted this chemical since it provides an arresting model of how chemical exposure impacts developmental processes involved in the morphogenesis of tissues and organs, including those of the male and female reproductive systems, the mammary glands and the brain.

  13. Environmental quality evaluation. Indexing tools to evaluate environmental quality from biological data, floristic and vegetational data in Ponte Galeria (Rome, Italy)

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Mazzocchi, F.; Castorina, M.; De Mei, M.

    1998-01-01

    In the present work the study of indexing tools to evaluate environmental quality from biological data has been performed using a certain number of floristic and vegetational indices near Macchia Grande of Ponte Galeria (Rome, Italy). The indices have been applied on the basis of the data coming from a phyto sociological study of the area. Multivariate statistics methodologies have been utilized to obtain a synthetic evaluation of the indices [it

  14. Synthetic Biology between Self-Regulation and Public Discourse: Ethical Issues and the Many Roles of the Ethicist.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Arnason, Gardar

    2017-04-01

    This article discusses the roles of ethicists in the governance of synthetic biology. I am particularly concerned with the idea of self-regulation of bioscience and its relationship to public discourse about ethical issues in bioscience. I will look at the role of philosophical ethicists at different levels and loci, from the "embedded ethicist" in the laboratory or research project, to ethicists' impact on policy and public discourse. In a democratic society, the development of governance frameworks for emerging technologies, such as synthetic biology, needs to be guided by a well-informed public discourse. In the case of synthetic biology, the public discourse has to go further than merely considering technical issues of biosafety and biosecurity, or risk management, to consider more philosophical issues concerning the meaning and value of "life" between the natural and the synthetic. I argue that ethicists have moral expertise to bring to the public arena, which consists not only in guiding the debate but also in evaluating arguments and moral positions and making normative judgments. When ethicists make normative claims or moral judgments, they must be transparent about their theoretical positions and basic moral standpoints.

  15. Methods for open innovation on a genome-design platform associating scientific, commercial, and educational communities in synthetic biology.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Toyoda, Tetsuro

    2011-01-01

    Synthetic biology requires both engineering efficiency and compliance with safety guidelines and ethics. Focusing on the rational construction of biological systems based on engineering principles, synthetic biology depends on a genome-design platform to explore the combinations of multiple biological components or BIO bricks for quickly producing innovative devices. This chapter explains the differences among various platform models and details a methodology for promoting open innovation within the scope of the statutory exemption of patent laws. The detailed platform adopts a centralized evaluation model (CEM), computer-aided design (CAD) bricks, and a freemium model. It is also important for the platform to support the legal aspects of copyrights as well as patent and safety guidelines because intellectual work including DNA sequences designed rationally by human intelligence is basically copyrightable. An informational platform with high traceability, transparency, auditability, and security is required for copyright proof, safety compliance, and incentive management for open innovation in synthetic biology. GenoCon, which we have organized and explained here, is a competition-styled, open-innovation method involving worldwide participants from scientific, commercial, and educational communities that aims to improve the designs of genomic sequences that confer a desired function on an organism. Using only a Web browser, a participating contributor proposes a design expressed with CAD bricks that generate a relevant DNA sequence, which is then experimentally and intensively evaluated by the GenoCon organizers. The CAD bricks that comprise programs and databases as a Semantic Web are developed, executed, shared, reused, and well stocked on the secure Semantic Web platform called the Scientists' Networking System or SciNetS/SciNeS, based on which a CEM research center for synthetic biology and open innovation should be established. Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Inc

  16. Original Research doi:10.4102/http://www.indieskriflig.org.za ids.v48i2.722 An exploration of synthetic biology: A preliminary Christian ethical assessment of the advantages and disadvantages of synthetic biology

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Riaan A.L. Rheeder

    2014-10-01

    Full Text Available On 20 May 2010, the Venter Institute in America announced that they have fully synthesised the genome of the organism Mycoplasma mycoides whilst in vitro by using a computer connected to a machine that synthesises genes. Thereafter, the genome was placed back into the casing of another organism (Mycoplasma capricolum and it was reported that the synthesised organism and the genome functioned normally. This synthesised organism was reconstructed to function as a minute little factory with the aim of producing and secreting fuel and medicine − something that is not the natural function of this organism. There are certain potential dangers inherent in this kind of technology. Scientists fear that this technology may contaminate or infect humans, animals or the environment, and that it can as such be extremely harmful, or even lead to the destruction of humans. Other scientists are concerned that terrorists can use this technology to kill innocent citizens. Some ethicists are of the opinion that the consequences of synthetic biology is currently unpredictable and that it is therefore risky. In opposition to the potential dangers, one has to mention that synthetic biology indeed can result in far-reaching positive outcomes such as the manufacturing of biofuel and medication. Most scientists and ethicists are of the opinion that the potential dangers involved in synthetic biology should be evaluated in light of the fact that genetic manipulation has not caused any biological devastation over the last 30 years. From a Christian point of departure, the opinion is currently that synthetic biology is not an irresponsible science and technology.

  17. Biological sciences teaching undergraduates’ environmental knowledge: a critical analysis

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Silvana do Nascimento Silva

    2013-12-01

    Full Text Available Nowadays, environmental issues have been addressed in a way that goes beyond the natural impacts, embracing socio-economic, political and cultural aspects. This paper makes a description of the types of environmental conceptions, giving special emphasis to the interactions that permeate it, and develops an empirical work by analyzing the conceptions about the environmental knowledge of students majoring in a teacher preparation course on biological sciences of a university in the State of Bahia, Brazil. In a qualitative research, data were collected by application of a questionnaire with open questions with answers in text and drawings. The results revealed a predominance of naturalistic conceptions, while socio-environmental conceptions of systemic or socio-metabolic characteristics were not found. These findings lead to the need for the integration of these critical approaches about the environmental issue in Sciences and Biology teachers’ training, emphasizing the interactions between work, nature and society. Finally, some suggestions also emerge for future research, among which to analyze the biological sciences university teachers’ environmental conceptions and an action-research with these investigated undergraduates concerning environmental critical approaches.

  18. Department of Radiation and Environmental Biology - Overview

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Cebulska-Wasilewska, A.

    1999-01-01

    californium 252 neutrons from KAERI source. The third part of our effort concerns an application of different radiation sources for clinical cancer therapy. In cooperation with dr Jacek Capala we have done experiments on Medical Research Reactor in Brookhaven Laboratory. We have also introduced a COMET assay in their laboratory. This is an excellent feeling when both cooperating sides may benefit from co-operation. The year 1998 was also very attractive in the sense of many interesting visits to our Department. All of them we enjoyed a lot. We were honored to host Dr Diana Anderson from BIBRA International, Carshalton, UK. We are happy to see that her visits have become a tradition so much profitable for both our friendship and programs. The end of the year was equally touching as the beginning when X-ray machine had arrived, at the beginning of December, I won myself, a prize from the International Mutagenesis Society for the outstanding presentation; on the 3rd International Conference of Mutagenesis in Human Populations. I really respect both, working issue of the Conference ''Understanding Gene and Environmental Interactions for Disease Prevention'' and a prize itself (Five-year-subscription of International Journal of Environmental and Molecular Mutagenesis). Whoop! I am proud of myself and of the people in my Department!!. (author)

  19. Authentication of synthetic environmental contaminants and their (bio)transformation products in toxicology: polychlorinated biphenyls as an example.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Li, Xueshu; Holland, Erika B; Feng, Wei; Zheng, Jing; Dong, Yao; Pessah, Isaac N; Duffel, Michael W; Robertson, Larry W; Lehmler, Hans-Joachim

    2018-01-10

    Toxicological studies use "specialty chemicals" and, thus, should assess and report both identity and degree of purity (homogeneity) of the chemicals (or toxicants) under investigation to ensure that other scientists can replicate experimental results. Although detailed reporting criteria for the synthesis and characterization of organic compounds have been established by organic chemistry journals, such criteria are inconsistently applied to the chemicals used in toxicological studies. Biologically active trace impurities may lead to incorrect conclusions about the chemical entity responsible for a biological response, which in turn may confound risk assessment. Based on our experience with the synthesis of PCBs and their metabolites, we herein propose guidelines for the "authentication" of synthetic PCBs and, by extension, other organic toxicants, and provide a checklist for documenting the authentication of toxicants reported in the peer-reviewed literature. The objective is to expand guidelines proposed for different types of biomedical and preclinical studies to include a thorough authentication of specialty chemicals, such as PCBs and their derivatives, with the goal of ensuring transparent and open reporting of scientific results in toxicology and the environmental health sciences.

  20. Determining environmental causes of biological effects: the need for a mechanistic physiological dimension in conservation biology.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Seebacher, Frank; Franklin, Craig E

    2012-06-19

    The emerging field of Conservation Physiology links environmental change and ecological success by the application of physiological theory, approaches and tools to elucidate and address conservation problems. Human activity has changed the natural environment to a point where the viability of many ecosystems is now under threat. There are already many descriptions of how changes in biological patterns are correlated with environmental changes. The next important step is to determine the causative relationship between environmental variability and biological systems. Physiology provides the mechanistic link between environmental change and ecological patterns. Physiological research, therefore, should be integrated into conservation to predict the biological consequences of human activity, and to identify those species or populations that are most vulnerable.

  1. SB6.0: The 6th International meeting on Synthetic Biology, July 9-11, 2013

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Kahl, Linda J. [BioBricks Foundation

    2015-04-23

    The Synthetic Biology conference series (SBx.0) is the preeminent academic meeting in synthetic biology. Organized by the BioBricks Foundation, the SBx.0 conference series brings together leading researchers, students, industry executives, and policy makers from around the world to share, consider, debate, and plan efforts to make biology easier to engineer. Historically held every two years, the SBx.0 conferences are held in alternating locations in the United States, Europe, and Asia to encourage global participation and collaboration so that the ramifications of synthetic biology research and development are most likely to be safe ethical, and beneficial. On 9-11 July 2013, the 6th installment of the synthetic biology conference series (SB6.0) was held on the campus of Imperial College London (http://sb6.biobricks.org). The SB6.0 conference was attended by over 700 people, and many more were able to participate via video digital conference (http://sb6.biobricks.org/digital-conference/). Over the course of three days, the SB6.0 conference agenda included plenary sessions, workshops, and poster presentations covering topics ranging from the infrastructure needs arising when “Systematic Engineering Meets Biological Complexity” and design-led considerations for “Connecting People and Technologies” to discussions on “Engineering Biology for New Materials,” “Assessing Risk and Managing Biocontainment,” and “New Directions for Energy and Sustainability.” The $10,150 grant awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy (DE-SC0010233) to the BioBricks Foundation was used to provide partial reimbursement for the travel expenses of leading researchers from the United States to speak at the SB6.0 conference. A total of $9,450 was used to reimburse U.S. speakers for actual expenses related to the SB6.0 conference, including airfare (economy or coach only), ground transportation, hotel, and registration fees. In addition, $700 of the grant was used to offset

  2. Microbial production of natural and non-natural flavonoids: Pathway engineering, directed evolution and systems/synthetic biology.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pandey, Ramesh Prasad; Parajuli, Prakash; Koffas, Mattheos A G; Sohng, Jae Kyung

    2016-01-01

    In this review, we address recent advances made in pathway engineering, directed evolution, and systems/synthetic biology approaches employed in the production and modification of flavonoids from microbial cells. The review is divided into two major parts. In the first, various metabolic engineering and system/synthetic biology approaches used for production of flavonoids and derivatives are discussed broadly. All the manipulations/engineering accomplished on the microorganisms since 2000 are described in detail along with the biosynthetic pathway enzymes, their sources, structures of the compounds, and yield of each product. In the second part of the review, post-modifications of flavonoids by four major reactions, namely glycosylations, methylations, hydroxylations and prenylations using recombinant strains are described. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  3. The Impact of Broccoli II & Tomato II on European patents in conventional breeding, GMO’s and Synthetic Biology:

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Minssen, Timo; Nordberg, Ana

    2015-01-01

    . The EBA has also clarified that this applies irrespective of if such claims are formulated in a product-by-process format or as a per se product . Moreover, the combined effect of Broccoli & Tomato I & II opens new opportunities for patenting GMOs - provided that all other patent criteria are also met...... if confronted with similar issues in the context of national implementations of the Biotech Directive, which have taken a very different view than the EBA. Moreover, the fierce European opposition against genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and Synthetic Biology remains a major challenge to the industry...... and Nordberg, A., The Impact of Broccoli II & Tomatoes II on European Patents in Conventional Breeding, GMO's and Synthetic Biology: The Grand Finale of a Juicy Patents Tale? (May 19, 2015). Univ. of Copenhagen Dept. of Economics Discussion. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2607865 or http...

  4. African Journal of Applied Zoology and Environmental Biology

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    The African Journal of Applied Zoology and Environmental Biology (formerly the African Journal of Applied Zoology) was inaugurated to meet the growing need for an indigenous authoritative organ for the dissemination of the results of scientific research into the fauna of Africa. Its scope has been widened and the title ...

  5. Application of radiochemical separation procedures to environmental and biological materials

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Eakins, J D [UKAEA Atomic Energy Research Establishment, Harwell. Environmental and Medical Sciences Div.

    1984-06-15

    The measurement of low levels of radionuclides in environmental and biological materials often depends on separation of the nuclide of interest from a bulky matrix containing interfering radioelements. In such case, however sophisticated and elegant the counting technique, the quality of the final data will

  6. Synthetical Analysis for Morphology, biological Species, and stable Isotopes (SAMSI) of single-cell planktonic foraminifer

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ujiie, Y.; Kimoto, K.; Ishimura, T.

    2017-12-01

    Planktonic foraminifers are widely used in the studies of paleontology and paleoceanography, because the morphology of their calcareous shells is enough highly variable to identify the morphospecies and the chemical composition of the shells reflect ambient seawater condition. Although the morphospecies were believed to represent environments associating with latitudinal temperature range of the world ocean, molecular phylogeographic studies have unveiled the presence of multiple biological species in a single morphospecies and their species-specific distributions. This implicates the actual complexity of planktonic foraminiferal ecology. Conversely, these biological species have a high potential for providing novel ecological and environmental information to us. In order to reassess the morphological and geochemical characters of biological species, the DNA extraction method with the guanidium isothiocyanate buffer was developed to preserve the calcareous shells. The present study carefully tested the physical and chemical damages of the DNA extraction process to the shells, by our novel approaches with geochemical analysis of the shells after non-destructive analysis for morphometrics on a same specimen. First, we checked the changes of the shell densities between pre- and post-DNA extraction by using the micro-focus X-ray CT (MXCT) scanning. Based on the simultaneous measurement of a sample and the standard material, we confirmed no significant changes to the shell densities through the DNA extraction process. As a next step, we compared stable oxygen and carbon isotopes among individuals of three sample sets: (1) no chemical and incubation as control, (2) incubation in the DNA extraction buffer at 65-70°C for 40 minutes as standard way, and (3) incubation in the DNA extraction buffer at 65-70°C for 120 minutes, by using the microscale isotopic analytical system (MICAL3c). Consequently, there were no significant differences among the three sample sets. These

  7. Biological monitoring and selected trends in environmental quality

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Suffern, J.S.; West, D.C.; Kemp, H.T.; Burgess, R.L.

    1976-10-01

    Under a contract with the President's Council on Environmental Quality, the National Inventory of Selected Biological Monitoring Programs at ORNL was used to identify documented environmental trends. Fish population trends were described for the Great Lakes and the Colorado River system. Trends in amphibian populations in the northeast were examined and correlated with acid precipitation. Increases in breeding success among large birds of prey were correlated with reductions in ambient levels of DDT and its residues. Geographic variation in PCB contamination was examined along with differences between aquatic and terrestrial contamination levels. Changes in air quality were documented, and their effects on plant viability were outlined. Trends in the biological effects of environmental deposition of lead were documented. Long-term changes in forest structure in the southeast were presented, and a general reduction in wildlife habitat, associated with land use practices, was documented for several areas in the US

  8. Elucidating the molecular mechanisms underlying cellular response to biophysical cues using synthetic biology approaches

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Denning, Denise; Roos, Wouter H

    2016-01-01

    The use of synthetic surfaces and materials to influence and study cell behavior has vastly progressed our understanding of the underlying molecular mechanisms involved in cellular response to physicochemical and biophysical cues. Reconstituting cytoskeletal proteins and interfacing them with a

  9. Spectroscopic characterisation of biological vaterite: relations to synthetic and geological vaterites

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jacob, D. E.; Wehrmeister, U.; Soldati, A. L.; Hofmeister, W.

    2009-04-01

    The pair aragonite and calcite are some of the most intensively studied polymorphous minerals. These CaCO3 polymorphs are most commonly observed in biological minerals produced by marine molluscs, whereas in freshwater molluscs mostly aragonite and vaterite, the third CaCO3 polymorph is identified (e.g. Wehrmeister et al., 2007). Vaterite is the thermodynamically most unstable CaCO3 polymorph and is often discussed as a precursor phase in the mineralization of aragonite or calcite by organisms. Apart from these biological parageneses, vaterite is also known as rare small polycrystalline aggregates from geological occurrences. In laboratory crystallisation experiments, vaterite can be stabilized either kinetically or with the help of organic macromolecules (e.g. Falini et al., 2005). Despite considerable research on vaterite, it is less well known that the crystal structure of vaterite is not unobjectionably determined. Due to the overall small crystal sizes, single crystal XRD analysis of vaterite is very difficult and this could be one of the reasons for the lack of a conclusive determination of the crystal structure. At least four different crystal structure proposals have to be considered: One proposed vaterite to be pseudo hexagonal and to crystallise in the orthorhombic space group Pnma (Meyer 1959). In addition, three crystal structures with hexagonal unit cells are proposed: Kamhi (1963) and Meyer (1969) proposed the same crystal space group: P63/mmc, whereas the site symmetry of the carbonate ion is proposed to be different with 2mm and m, respectively. Lastly, Lippmann (1973) proposed a structure based on the high-temperature modification of YbBO3 with space group 6322. Here, we present new and complete Raman spectra for biological, geological and synthetic vaterite. The spectroscopic results are evaluated in light of all published crystal structures for vaterite and are aimed at gaining more detailed information about the crystallographic features of

  10. SynTec Final Technical Report: Synthetic biology for Tailored Enzyme cocktails

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Lin, Janine [Novozymes, Inc., Davis, CA (United States); Teter, Sarah [Novozymes, Inc., Davis, CA (United States)

    2016-06-30

    Using a novel enzyme screening method inspired by synthetic biology, Novozymes developed new technology under SynTec which allows for more rapidly tailoring of enzyme cocktails. The methodology can be applied to specific feedstocks, and or coupled to address a specific hydrolytic conversion process context. Using combinatorial high throughput screening of libraries of enzyme domains, we can quickly assess which combination of catalytic modules delivers the best performance for a specific condition. To demonstrate the effectiveness of the screening process, we measured performance of the output catalytic cocktail compared to CTec3/HTec3. SynTec benchmark cocktail - blend of Cellic® CTec3 and HTec3. The test substrate was - ammonia fiber expansion pretreated corn stover (AFEX™ PCS).CTec3/HTec3 was assayed at the optimal pH and temperature, and also in the absence of any pH adjustment. The new enzyme cocktail discovered under SynTec was assayed in the absence of any pH adjustment and at the optimal temperature. Conversion is delivered by SynTec enzyme at significant dose reduction relative to CTec3/HTec3 at the controlled pH optimum, and without titrant required to maintain pH, which delivers additional cost savings relative to current state of the art process. In this 2.5 year $4M project, the team delivered an experimental cocktail that significantly outperformed CTec3/HTec3 for a specific substrate, and for specific hydrolysis conditions. As a means of comparing performance improvement delivered per research dollar spent, we note that SynTec delivered a similar performance improvement to the previous award, in a shorter time and with fewer resources than for the previously successful DOE project DECREASE, a 3.5 year, $25M project, though this project focused on a different substrate and used different hydrolysis conditions. The newly implemented technology for rapid sourcing of new cellulases and hemicellulases from nature is an example of Novozymes

  11. Fast and easy protocol for the purification of recombinant S-layer protein for synthetic biology applications

    KAUST Repository

    Norville, Julie E.

    2011-06-17

    A goal of synthetic biology is to make biological systems easier to engineer. One of the aims is to design, with nanometer-scale precision, biomaterials with well-defined properties. The surface-layer protein SbpA forms 2D arrays naturally on the cell surface of Lysinibacillus sphaericus, but also as the purified protein in solution upon the addition of divalent cations. The high propensity of SbpA to form crystalline arrays, which can be simply controlled by divalent cations, and the possibility to genetically alter the protein, make SbpA an attractive molecule for synthetic biology. To be a useful tool, however, it is important that a simple protocol can be used to produce recombinant wild-type and modified SbpA in large quantities and in a biologically active form. The present study addresses this requirement by introducing a mild and non-denaturing purification protocol to produce milligram quantities of recombinant, active SbpA.

  12. Evaluating efficacy of an environmental policy to prevent biological invasions.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bailey, Sarah A; Deneau, Matthew G; Jean, Laurent; Wiley, Chris J; Leung, Brian; MacIsaac, Hugh J

    2011-04-01

    Enactment of any environmental policy should be followed by an evaluation of its efficacy to ensure optimal utilization of limited resources, yet measuring the success of these policies can be a challenging task owing to a dearth of data and confounding factors. We examine the efficacy of ballast water policies enacted to prevent biological invasions in the Laurentian Great Lakes. We utilize four criteria to assess the efficacy of this environmental regulation: (1) Is the prescribed management action demonstrably effective? (2) Is the management action effective under operational conditions? (3) Can compliance be achieved on a broad scale? (4) Are desired changes observed in the environment? The four lines of evidence resulting from this analysis indicate that the Great Lakes ballast water management program provides robust, but not complete, protection against ship-mediated biological invasions. Our analysis also indicates that corresponding inspection and enforcement efforts should be undertaken to ensure that environmental policies translate into increased environmental protection. Similar programs could be implemented immediately around the world to protect the biodiversity of the many freshwater ecosystems which receive ballast water discharges by international vessels. This general framework can be extended to evaluate efficacy of other environmental policies.

  13. Growth and development and their environmental and biological determinants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    da Rocha Neves, Kelly; de Souza Morais, Rosane Luzia; Teixeira, Romero Alves; Pinto, Priscilla Avelino Ferreira

    2016-01-01

    To investigate child growth, cognitive/language development, and their environmental and biological determinants. This was a cross-sectional, predictive correlation study with all 92 children aged 24-36 months who attended the municipal early childhood education network in a town in the Vale do Jequitinhonha region, in 2011. The socioeconomic profile was determined using the questionnaire of the Associação Brasileira de Empresas de Pesquisa. The socio-demographicand maternal and child health profiles were created through a self-prepared questionnaire. The height-for-age indicator was selected to represent growth. Cognitive/language development was assessed through the Bayley Scale of Infant and Toddler Development. The quality of educational environments was assessed by Infant/Toddler Environment Scale; the home environment was assessed by the Home Observation for Measurement of the Environment. The neighborhood quality was determined by a self-prepared questionnaire. A multivariate linear regression analysis was performed. Families were predominantly from socioeconomic class D, with low parental education. The prevalence of stunted growth was 14.1%; cognitive and language development were below average at 28.6% and 28.3%, respectively. Educational institutions were classified as inadequate, and 69.6% of homes were classified as presenting a risk for development. Factors such as access to parks and pharmacies and perceived security received the worst score regarding neighborhood environment. Biological variables showed a greater association with growth and environmental variables with development. The results showed a high prevalence of stunting and below-average results for cognitive/language development among the participating children. Both environmental and biological factors were related to growth and development. However, biological variables showed a greater association with growth, whereas environmental variables were associated with development

  14. Growth and development and their environmental and biological determinants

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Kelly da Rocha Neves

    2016-06-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Objective To investigate child growth, cognitive/language development, and their environmental and biological determinants. Methods This was a cross-sectional, predictive correlation study with all 92 children aged 24-36 months who attended the municipal early childhood education network in a town in the Vale do Jequitinhonha region, in 2011. The socioeconomic profile was determined using the questionnaire of the Associação Brasileira de Empresas de Pesquisa. The socio-demographicand maternal and child health profiles were created through a self-prepared questionnaire. The height-for-age indicator was selected to represent growth. Cognitive/language development was assessed through the Bayley Scale of Infant and Toddler Development. The quality of educational environments was assessed by Infant/Toddler Environment Scale; the home environment was assessed by the Home Observation for Measurement of the Environment. The neighborhood quality was determined by a self-prepared questionnaire. A multivariate linear regression analysis was performed. Results Families were predominantly from socioeconomic class D, with low parental education. The prevalence of stunted growth was 14.1%; cognitive and language development were below average at 28.6% and 28.3%, respectively. Educational institutions were classified as inadequate, and 69.6% of homes were classified as presenting a risk for development. Factors such as access to parks and pharmacies and perceived security received the worst score regarding neighborhood environment. Biological variables showed a greater association with growth and environmental variables with development. Conclusion The results showed a high prevalence of stunting and below-average results for cognitive/language development among the participating children. Both environmental and biological factors were related to growth and development. However, biological variables showed a greater association with growth, whereas

  15. Assessing the effectiveness of synthetic and biologic disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs in psoriatic arthritis – a systematic review

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Kingsley GH

    2015-05-01

    Full Text Available Gabrielle H Kingsley, David L Scott Rheumatology Unit, Kings College London, London, UK Background: Psoriatic arthritis is an inflammatory arthritis the primary manifestations of which are locomotor and skin disease. Although a number of guidelines have been published citing strategies for reducing disease progression, the evidence base for disease-modifying agents is unclear. This forms the focus of this systematic review. Methods: The systematic review was undertaken according to the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses 2009 checklist. We selected randomized controlled trials (RCTs that looked at the impact of interventions with disease-modifying agents, either synthetic drugs or biologics on musculoskeletal outcomes, notably American College of Rheumatology 20 percent responders. Results were analyzed using Review Manager 5.1.6 (Cochrane Collaboration, Oxford, UK. Whilst our primary focus was on published trials, we also looked at new trials presented in abstract form in 2013–2014 that were not yet published to avoid omitting important and up-to-date information on developing treatments. Results: Our in-depth analysis included 28 trials overall enrolling 5,177 patients published between the 1980s and now as well as limited analysis of some studies in abstract form as described earlier. The most frequently available locomotor outcome measure was the American College of Rheumatology 20 percent responders. The risk ratio for achieving an American College of Rheumatology 20 percent responders response was positive in favor of treatment (risk ratio 2.30; 95% confidence interval 1.78–2.96; however, there was evidence of considerable heterogeneity between trials. Overall randomized controlled trials of established synthetic disease-modifying agents were largely negative (methotrexate, ciclosporin and sulfasalazine though leflunomide showed a small positive effect. A new synthetic agent, apremilast, did show a

  16. A Synthetic Biology Architecture to Detoxify and Enrich Mars Soil for Agriculture

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration — Although the theoretical case for space biological engineering is convincing, since recent studies on the use of biology in space showed substantial payload...

  17. Synthetic Methods and Exploring Biological Potential of Various Substituted Quinoxalin-2-one Derivatives

    OpenAIRE

    Mohammad Asif

    2016-01-01

    Substituted quinoxaline have considerable interest in chemistry, biology and pharmacology. Quinoxaline derivatives are capable with variety of biological activities and possess different biological activities, of which the most potent are anti-microbial, analgesic and anti-inflammatory activities. It facilitated the researchers to develop various methods for their synthesis and their applications. In this review represented different methods of synthesis, reactivity and various biological act...

  18. [Synthetic cannabinoids: spread, addiction biology & current perspective of personal health hazard].

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bonnet, U; Mahler, H

    2015-04-01

    Among the new psychoactive substances (NPS), most frequently synthetic cannabinoids (SCBs) have been found in Europe. These are sold as active compounds in e. g. so-called "herbal blends". When inhaled or ingested, besides intoxication symptoms, as they occur with heavy cannabis use (e. g., tachycardia, myocardial infarction, confusion, hallucinations, panic attacks, and paranoia), harmful effects (severe agitation, coma, catatonic stupor, hypertension, cardiac arrhythmia, dyspnoea, seizures, myoclonus, rhabdomyolysis, hyperthermia, diaphoresis, acute kidney injury, vomiting, headache, and hypokalemia) arise, which are mostly unusual about cannabis use. In addition, the first cases of addiction and death related to SCBs have been reported. Taking into account the newest literature and using an algorithm with two main criteria (addiction potential, toxicity), the authors made a first attempt to rank the personal health hazard of SCBs in comparison to that of other psychoactive drugs. Accordingly, the relative health hazard of SCBs is found to be somewhat higher than that of cannabis and lower than that of synthetic cathinones ("bath salts"). However, the toxicity of SCBs, is significantly greater than the toxicity of cannabis, thus being similar to that of synthetic cathinones and benzodiazepines. The addiction potential appears to be lower than that of synthetic cathinones, benzodiazepines, or cannabis. Due to the fluctuation of substances and the availability in internet resources, legislation is facing a serious "hare-hedgehog" problem to control the manufacture, trade and possession of SCBs. © Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart · New York.

  19. Prequels to Synthetic Biology: From Candidate Gene Identification and Validation to Enzyme Subcellular Localization in Plant and Yeast Cells.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Foureau, E; Carqueijeiro, I; Dugé de Bernonville, T; Melin, C; Lafontaine, F; Besseau, S; Lanoue, A; Papon, N; Oudin, A; Glévarec, G; Clastre, M; St-Pierre, B; Giglioli-Guivarc'h, N; Courdavault, V

    2016-01-01

    Natural compounds extracted from microorganisms or plants constitute an inexhaustible source of valuable molecules whose supply can be potentially challenged by limitations in biological sourcing. The recent progress in synthetic biology combined to the increasing access to extensive transcriptomics and genomics data now provide new alternatives to produce these molecules by transferring their whole biosynthetic pathway in heterologous production platforms such as yeasts or bacteria. While the generation of high titer producing strains remains per se an arduous field of investigation, elucidation of the biosynthetic pathways as well as characterization of their complex subcellular organization are essential prequels to the efficient development of such bioengineering approaches. Using examples from plants and yeasts as a framework, we describe potent methods to rationalize the study of partially characterized pathways, including the basics of computational applications to identify candidate genes in transcriptomics data and the validation of their function by an improved procedure of virus-induced gene silencing mediated by direct DNA transfer to get around possible resistance to Agrobacterium-delivery of viral vectors. To identify potential alterations of biosynthetic fluxes resulting from enzyme mislocalizations in reconstituted pathways, we also detail protocols aiming at characterizing subcellular localizations of protein in plant cells by expression of fluorescent protein fusions through biolistic-mediated transient transformation, and localization of transferred enzymes in yeast using similar fluorescence procedures. Albeit initially developed for the Madagascar periwinkle, these methods may be applied to other plant species or organisms in order to establish synthetic biology platform. © 2016 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  20. Genome Partitioner: A web tool for multi-level partitioning of large-scale DNA constructs for synthetic biology applications.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Christen, Matthias; Del Medico, Luca; Christen, Heinz; Christen, Beat

    2017-01-01

    Recent advances in lower-cost DNA synthesis techniques have enabled new innovations in the field of synthetic biology. Still, efficient design and higher-order assembly of genome-scale DNA constructs remains a labor-intensive process. Given the complexity, computer assisted design tools that fragment large DNA sequences into fabricable DNA blocks are needed to pave the way towards streamlined assembly of biological systems. Here, we present the Genome Partitioner software implemented as a web-based interface that permits multi-level partitioning of genome-scale DNA designs. Without the need for specialized computing skills, biologists can submit their DNA designs to a fully automated pipeline that generates the optimal retrosynthetic route for higher-order DNA assembly. To test the algorithm, we partitioned a 783 kb Caulobacter crescentus genome design. We validated the partitioning strategy by assembling a 20 kb test segment encompassing a difficult to synthesize DNA sequence. Successful assembly from 1 kb subblocks into the 20 kb segment highlights the effectiveness of the Genome Partitioner for reducing synthesis costs and timelines for higher-order DNA assembly. The Genome Partitioner is broadly applicable to translate DNA designs into ready to order sequences that can be assembled with standardized protocols, thus offering new opportunities to harness the diversity of microbial genomes for synthetic biology applications. The Genome Partitioner web tool can be accessed at https://christenlab.ethz.ch/GenomePartitioner.