By Jeffrey M. Perkel
"James DiCarlo was only a freshman at Johns Hopkins University in the spring of 2007 when his research advisor, Jef Boeke, approached him about taking a new class Boeke was putting together.
“Do you think students would be interested in a class about synthetic biology and building genomes?” DiCarlo recalls Boeke asking.
“I was like, ‘Yeah, that sounds awesome, I would take that class,’” DiCarlo, now a grad student in biomedical engineering at Boston University, recalls.
That class was Biology 420, aka Build-a-Genome. Instead of concentrating on typical cookbook-style experiments, Build-a-Genome teaches undergrads the fine points of synthetic biology and then turns them loose to rebuild their own 10-kilobase slice of yeast chromosome three. The course, a kind of lab class–cum-independent project, was conceived as part of an international yeast genome engineering research consortium called Sc2.0...."