Researchers have designed a way to streamline the construction of synthetic gene networks, a paper published online this week in Nature Biotechnology reports. The technique could speed up the process of building such networks, the authors say. The study was "very solidly executed," said J. Christopher Anderson, a bioengineer at the University of California, Berkeley.
Synthetic biology, the process of combining genes to create artificial networks, holds promise for numerous applications, including sensing toxic chemicals, creating biofuels and generating new drugs. But creating artificial networks can be time-consuming and frustrating: after assembling their artificial network, researchers can spend months painstakingly--and blindly--swapping out different promoter regions, RNA regulators, or chemical inputs, just to get the circuit to do what they want. To see if they could speed up the construction process, James J. Collins, a bioengineer at Boston University, and his colleagues assembled a library of...
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