The CRISPR/Cas9 system has emerged as one of the leading tools for modifying genomes of organisms ranging from E. coli to humans. Additionally, the simple gene targeting mechanism of CRISPR technology has been modified and adapted to other applications that include gene regulation, detection of intercellular trafficking, and pathogen detection. With a wealth of methods for introducing Cas9 and gRNAs into cells, it can be challenging to decide where to start. In this presentation, Dr Adam Clore describes the CRISPR mechanism and some of the most prominent uses for CRISPR, along with methods where IDT technologies can assist scientists in designing, testing, and executing a variety of CRISPR-mediated experiments.
Synthetic biology could be seen as a natural development of traditional biotechnology and applied genetics. However, the exuberant culture that it has embraced should ensure it has a very bright future.
1,4-BUTANEDIOL ISN’T EXACTLY the flashiest product on the market: with a four-carbon chain bounded by alcohol groups, the thick, colorless liquid is one of those “industrial chemicals” that makes the eyes glaze over. But the diminutive molecule is worth some serious cash, with an estimated global market cap of $2 billion. Ultimately, 1,4-butanediol, also known as BDO, facilitates the production of a range of plastics, polyurethanes, and elastic fibers, making everything from skateboards to Spandex possible.
A start-up synthetic biology company is bioengineering color-changing flowers to capture the imagination of the general public and make genetically modified organisms (GMOs) more accessible, personal, and ultimately, better understood.
University of Manchester researchers, together with industrial partner DSM, have developed a single-step fermentative method for the production of leading cholesterol-lowering drug, pravastatin, which will facilitate industrial-scale statin drug production.
Bioengineers at The University of Texas at Dallas have created a novel gene-delivery system that shuttles a gene into a cell, but only for a temporary stay, providing a potential new gene-therapy strategy for treating disease.
Business Secretary Vince Cable has announced £40M investment in UK synthetic biology at the Manchester Institute for Biotechnology, where researchers are using the technology to investigate how to use bacteria in place of fossil fuels to produce the chemicals we need to manufacture a wide variety of everyday products from credit cards, to nappies, to Tupperware tubs.
Genetically engineered bacterial cells that produce high volumes of proteins are the workhorses of synthetic biology. However, churning out an endless stream of foreign proteins can exhaust cells’ resources. Is there a way to lighten the load?
Researchers at The University of Manchester have made a significant breakthrough in the development of synthetic pathways that will enable renewable biosynthesis of the gas propane. This research is part of a programme of work aimed at developing the next generation of biofuels.
What if you could design a house that would be encapsulated in a seed? Then to build that house you just had to plant the seed and add water. The Bio/Nano/Programmable Matter group at Autodesk Research is working to make this possible.
Keira Havens is the co-founder of Revolution Bioengineering, and this week the company launched a crowd funding campaign to produce flowers that can change colors.
And what is the revolution?
“We want to change the world,” says Keira. “We really want to make a difference in the way people think about biotechnology. For a long time it’s been the realm of large companies and behind-the-scenes labs, and we want to make it a part of folks' everyday lives.”
Keira hopes that a genetically engineered plant product which is not eaten or produced by a big company will not be as threatening to those afraid of GMOs and might possible affect the ongoing debate over genetically modified products.
The flower will not be available until 2017. So it will be some time before Keira and her team are turning a pumpkin into a stagecoach.
Art’s primary function is to cause people to re-evaluate their environment. A synthetic biology artists’ responsibility is to communicate to the public what the field of synthetic biology is capable of and evaluate how it affects their lives. At SynBioBeta San Francisco’s 2014 Conference, Revolution Biology (RevBio) Founder and CEO, Kiera Havens, announced her company would have a crowdfunding campaign in early 2015 for a synthetic biology art project.
The field of synthetic biology, designing and building engineered biological systems through DNA synthesis and genetic engineering, is rapidly moving to a genome scale. In a similar trajectory to genomic sequencing and genome projects two decades ago, it has moved from engineering single genes, entire synthetic bacterial genomes (J Craig Venter’s notorious“Synthia”), to the eukaryotic organism stage. The “Sc2.0” synthetic yeast genome project, is aninternational consortium synthesizing “designer eukaryotic genomes“ for all of the 16 chromosomes (and roughly 14Mb of sequence) of Baker’s yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. With the first chromosome published last year in Science, and many more already completed, and planning for the next step up is already being discussed. Being heavily involved in Sc2.0, and already producing several chromosomes (pictured), our colleagues at BGI organized a workshop covering this very topic at the end of last year. Chantal Shen and Huanming Yang from BGI and Patrick Cai from Edinburgh have written us a guest posting on the discussions that went on at the workshop, and what the proposed next steps are for organismal scale synthetic genomics.
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