DNA factory launches

Need a gene promoter?

By | January 21, 2010

Need a gene promoter? You may soon be able to order one from a catalog. California synthetic biologists are launching a linkurl:production facility;http://www.biofab.org/ that will provide free, standardized DNA parts for scientists around the world.
A light programmable biofilm made
by the UT Austin / UCSF team, iGEM 2004

Image: Wikipedia
The project, called BIOFAB: International Open Facility Advancing Biotechnology -- or just BIOFAB for short -- aims to boost the ease of bioengineering with "biological parts" that are shared resources, standardized and reliable enough that they can be switched in and out of a genome like electronic parts in a radio. If BIOFAB's vision is realized, researchers will be able to access an online registry and simply order what they need. The project is funded by a two-year $1.4 million grant from the National Science Foundation, as well as support from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the linkurl:BioBricks Foundation;http://bbf.openwetware.org/ (BBF), a nonprofit organization promoting synthetic biology. linkurl:Adam Arkin,;http://genomics.lbl.gov/ BIOFAB's codirector and a professor of bioengineering at the University of California, Berkeley, and LBNL, says the group has already hired scientists who are in the lab, making constructs. "Certainly our goal is to have parts in there as soon as possible, and to have significant parts in there by the summer," he said, noting that having just two years to demonstrate that such an endeavor can be successful is both terrifying and exhilarating. The idea of an open-source registry for DNA parts has been floating around since MIT synthetic biologist linkurl:Tom Knight;http://people.csail.mit.edu/tk/ established the BBF and launched linkurl:iGEM,;http://2010.igem.org/Main_Page an international student competition in synthetic biology. iGEM participants use and contribute to a registry of parts, but those parts aren't that well characterized or standardized (see our linkurl:feature on iGEM;http://www.the-scientist.com/2009/02/1/42/1/ and an accompanying story on linkurl:parts standardization;http://www.the-scientist.com/2009/02/1/42/100/ published last year.) Stanford University synthetic biologist linkurl:Drew Endy,;http://openwetware.org/wiki/Endy_Lab who will be BIOFAB's director and has been heavily involved with both iGEM and BBF, and other researchers have been working on ways to make standardization more consistent and efficient. Still, said Arkin, "There's certainly going to be a great deal of borrowing of what really worked for the [iGEM] registry."
**__Related stories:__***linkurl:Engineering cellular synchrony;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/57089/
[15th January 2010]*linkurl:Plug and play genes;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/55624/
[ 20th April 2009]*linkurl:Brick by brick;http://www.the-scientist.com/2009/02/1/42/1/
[February 2009]


January 26, 2010

A. The degree of similarities or differences in two organisms' DNA sequences can provide clues about how long ago they diverged from a common ancestor.\nhttp://www.articlesbase.com/health-articles/joliese-tan-review-get-free-trial-now-1652009.html

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