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Engineering for the 21st Century: Synthetic Biology

Engineering for the 21st Century: Synthetic Biology | SynBioFromLeukipposInstitute | Scoop.it
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Kevin Munnelly 

"For years, scientists have hoped that biology would find its engineering counterpart – a series of principles that could be used as reliably as chemical engineering is for chemistry. Thanks to major advances in synthetic biology, those hopes may soon be realized.

 As long as there have been efforts to understand biology and how organisms and particular biological mechanisms function, there have been parallel efforts to alter biology to better suit a specific need. Even before these organisms were understood on a genetic level, people were breeding animals to make stronger oxen or faster horses, mixing crop strains for higher yield or better flavor, or crossing flowers to create new colors.But the tremendous complexity of biology has, in some ways, kept these approaches more art than science. The goal of using engineering principles to allow scientists to perturb known biological systems and either alter them slightly or even design completely new biological systems still remains a fundamental need in order to cure disease, produce biofuels, and improve crop yield.Today, synthetic biology shows more promise than any previous attempt at creating a biobased engineering discipline. In the past 15 years, the nascent field of synthetic biology has made tremendous advances, beginning with the very first custom-built biological components and gradually progressing to a fully functioning synthetic genome. One of the latest achievements in this scientific field is a new approach to producing synthetic DNA at much higher capacity and far lower cost than current standards, which offers the opportunity for even more innovation.Thanks to synthetic biology initiatives such as the International Genetically Engineered Machines (iGEM) competition, young researchers coming out of academic programs today are the first generation to grow up with a portfolio of biological building blocks at their disposal, making them the first to truly look at biology as a field to which standard engineering principles can be applied.Synthetic bio is more than just an academic endeavor; by expert estimates, the opportunity for biosynthesizable approaches in the chemical development industry is $50 billion, while the same category in biofuels is expected to be a $500 billion market. Considering the potential for synthetic genes to revolutionize these and many other industries, the business opportunities for synthetic biology-based solutions go well into the trillion-dollar-plus realm.In this Viewpoint, we will look at the significant accomplishments that have shaped today’s synthetic biology landscape and consider what may be possible in the coming years based on recent innovations...."


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Cas9-Assisted Targeting of CHromosome segments CATCH enables one-step targeted cloning of large gene clusters

Cas9-Assisted Targeting of CHromosome segments CATCH enables one-step targeted cloning of large gene clusters | SynBioFromLeukipposInstitute | Scoop.it
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Silk bio-ink could help advance tissue engineering with 3-D printers

Silk bio-ink could help advance tissue engineering with 3-D printers | SynBioFromLeukipposInstitute | Scoop.it
Nanowerk is the leading nanotechnology portal, committed to educate, inform and inspire about nanotechnologies, nanosciences, and other emerging technologies
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GM embryos: time for ethics debate, say scientists

GM embryos: time for ethics debate, say scientists | SynBioFromLeukipposInstitute | Scoop.it
GM embryos: time for ethics debate, say scientists
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Programmable genetic circuits for pathway engineering

Programmable genetic circuits for pathway engineering | SynBioFromLeukipposInstitute | Scoop.it
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Allison Hoynes-O’Connor, Tae Seok Moon 

"Highlights

•Genetic tools from synthetic biology hold potential for pathway engineering.
•With metabolic and environmental sensors, cells can respond to their conditions.
•Genetic circuits connect cellular conditions with the appropriate response.
•Multi-gene targeting allows simultaneous, orthogonal regulation of multiple genes.
•Integration of these three components will lead to advances in pathway engineering."
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Engineering Synthetic cis-Regulatory Elements for Simultaneous Recognition of Three Transcriptional Factors

Engineering Synthetic cis-Regulatory Elements for Simultaneous Recognition of Three Transcriptional Factors | SynBioFromLeukipposInstitute | Scoop.it
Gerardo Ruiz Amores, María-Eugenia Guazzaroni and Rafael Silva-Rocha
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Emergent genetic oscillations in a synthetic microbial consortium | CodonOps

Emergent genetic oscillations in a synthetic microbial consortium | CodonOps | SynBioFromLeukipposInstitute | Scoop.it
Emergent genetic oscillations in a synthetic microbial consortium
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KAIST's mathematician reveals the mechanism for sustaining biological rhythms

KAIST's mathematician reveals the mechanism for sustaining biological rhythms | SynBioFromLeukipposInstitute | Scoop.it
the mechanism for sustaining biological rhythms
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Tissue Engineering, Synthetic Biology & Bioprinting

Tissue Engineering, Synthetic Biology & Bioprinting | SynBioFromLeukipposInstitute | Scoop.it
Tissue Engineering Synthetic Biology Biofabrication Bioprinting 3D-Printing
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Researchers use DNA 'nanoclews' to shuttle CRISPR-Cas9 gene-editing tool into cells

Researchers use DNA 'nanoclews' to shuttle CRISPR-Cas9 gene-editing tool into cells | SynBioFromLeukipposInstitute | Scoop.it
Researchers from North Carolina State University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have for the first time created and used a nanoscale vehicle made of DNA to deliver a CRISPR-Cas9 gene-editing tool into cells in both cell culture and an animal model.
The CRISPR-Cas system, which is found in bacteria and archaea, protects bacteria from invaders such as viruses. It does this by creating small strands of RNA called CRISPR RNAs, which match DNA sequences specific to a given invader. When those CRISPR RNAs find a match, they unleash Cas9 proteins that cut the DNA. In recent years, the CRISPR-Cas system has garnered a great deal of attention in the research community for its potential use as a gene editing tool - with the CRISPR RNA identifying the targeted portion of the relevant DNA, and the Cas protein cleaving it.
But for Cas9 to do its work, it must first find its way into the cell. This work focused on demonstrating the potential of a new vehicle for directly introducing the CRISPR-Cas9 complex - the entire gene-editing tool - into a cell.
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Scientists modify E. coli to cooperate, control protein expression

Scientists modify E. coli to cooperate, control protein expression | SynBioFromLeukipposInstitute | Scoop.it
Rice University scientists have made a living circuit from multiple types of bacteria that prompts the bacteria to cooperate to change protein expression.
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Minority rules: Scientists discover tipping point for the spread of ideas

Minority rules: Scientists discover tipping point for the spread of ideas | SynBioFromLeukipposInstitute | Scoop.it
Minority rules: Scientists discover tipping point for the spread of ideas
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Harnessing Synthetic Biology to Combat Bacterial Pathogens - DVIDS (press release)

Harnessing Synthetic Biology to Combat Bacterial Pathogens - DVIDS (press release) | SynBioFromLeukipposInstitute | Scoop.it
Developed in the 1940s, antibiotics are powerful medicines used in the treatment and prevention of bacterial infection to save lives.
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Jump-starting life? Fundamental aspects of synthetic biology

What is life and how could it originate? This question lies at the core of understanding the cell as the smallest living unit. Although we are witnessing a golden era of the life sciences, we are ironically still far from giving a convincing answer to this question. In this short article, I argue why synthetic biology in conjunction with the quantitative sciences may provide us with new concepts and tools to address it.

“What is cell biology?” asks the Journal of Cell Biology on the occasion of its 60th anniversary. Raising this simple, yet fundamental question at a time when new data on cells are being collected by the minute is an excellent idea. Information is a necessary, but unfortunately by no means sufficient, requirement for understanding, and the vast amount of data we are now producing may help understand the details but obscure our vision of the cell as a whole. Living systems are inherently complex; this is one of their most distinctive features after billions of years on earth. Complexity is key for their adaptability and resilience, and is both the playground, and the result, of evolution. Unfortunately, the tolerable level of complexity in a connection of thoughts that our brain accepts as an “understanding” is usually rather low, and the most powerful scientific insights, derived by abstraction, have been formulated on the basis of only a few parameters. So either we give up on a systems-level understanding of a cell, and leave it to computers to compile, or we try a theoretical and experimental abstraction of the living cell from its manifold of actual representations. I would like to argue that the latter is possible and will help further our quest to understand the origins of life itself.
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Biohackers: A journey into cyborg America - YouTube

The Verge's Ben Popper explores the world of biohacking, where DIY cyborgs are pushing the bleeding edge of human enhancement. From basement labs to piercing...
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Medical specialists are getting very worried about a gene-editing technology that could create 'designer babies'

Medical specialists are getting very worried about a gene-editing technology that could create 'designer babies' | SynBioFromLeukipposInstitute | Scoop.it
Medical researchers called on Wednesday for detailed, thoughtful debate on future use of new genetic technology that has the potential to create "designer babies".

The technology, called CRISPR-Cas9, allows scientists to edit virtually any gene they target, including in human embryos, enabling them to find and change or replace genetic defects.

Describing CRISPR as "game-changing", the Wellcome Trust global medical charity and four other leading British research organizations urged the scientific community to proceed considerately, allowing time and space for ethical debate.
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Emergent genetic oscillations in a synthetic microbial consortium.

A challenge of synthetic biology is the creation of cooperative microbial systems that exhibit population-level behaviors. Such systems use cellular signaling mechanisms to regulate gene expression across multiple cell types. We describe the construction of a synthetic microbial consortium consisting of two distinct cell types-an "activator" strain and a "repressor" strain. These strains produced two orthogonal cell-signaling molecules that regulate gene expression within a synthetic circuit spanning both strains. The two strains generated emergent, population-level oscillations only when cultured together. Certain network topologies of the two-strain circuit were better at maintaining robust oscillations than others. The ability to program population-level dynamics through the genetic engineering of multiple cooperative strains points the way toward engineering complex synthetic tissues and organs with multiple cell types.
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DNA-guided 3-D printing of human tissue is unveiled

DNA-guided 3-D printing of human tissue is unveiled | SynBioFromLeukipposInstitute | Scoop.it
DNA-guided 3-D printing of human tissue is unveiled
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The Evolution of Genome Engineering - YouTube

Genome editing tools combine molecular biology and engineering principles, enabling researchers to study how the genome influences phenotype. This video illu...
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Synthetic biology needs a grand design vision - New Scientist

Synthetic biology needs a grand design vision - New Scientist | SynBioFromLeukipposInstitute | Scoop.it
We can design a better future using biology, but we must consider the big questions first, says Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg
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Caution urged over editing DNA in wildlife (intentionally or not)

Caution urged over editing DNA in wildlife (intentionally or not) | SynBioFromLeukipposInstitute | Scoop.it
Caution urged over editing DNA in wildlife (intentionally or not)
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Emergent genetic oscillations in a synthetic microbial consortium

Emergent genetic oscillations in a synthetic microbial consortium | SynBioFromLeukipposInstitute | Scoop.it
Socrates Logos's insight:

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Ye Chen, Jae Kyoung Kim, Andrew J. Hirning, Krešimir Josić, Matthew R. Bennett

"A challenge of synthetic biology is the creation of cooperative microbial systems that exhibit population-level behaviors. Such systems use cellular signaling mechanisms to regulate gene expression across multiple cell types. We describe the construction of a synthetic microbial consortium consisting of two distinct cell types—an “activator” strain and a “repressor” strain. These strains produced two orthogonal cell-signaling molecules that regulate gene expression within a synthetic circuit spanning both strains. The two strains generated emergent, population-level oscillations only when cultured together. Certain network topologies of the two-strain circuit were better at maintaining robust oscillations than others. The ability to program population-level dynamics through the genetic engineering of multiple cooperative strains points the way toward engineering complex synthetic tissues and organs with multiple cell types."

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http://phys.org/news/2015-08-scientists-coli-cooperate-protein.html

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Searching big data faster

Searching big data faster | SynBioFromLeukipposInstitute | Scoop.it
Searching big data faster
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"Theoretical analysis could expand applications of accelerated searching in biology, other fields."

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So You Think You Can Synthesise - Series Finale

The Macquarie_Australia iGEM Team uses the popular reality format to inform and engage the public with our project The Solar Synthesisers. Our Project aims ...
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