Berkeley Lab Researchers Develop New Tool for Making Genetic Engineering of Microbial Circuits Reliably Predictable
Synthetic biology is the latest and most advanced phase of genetic engineering, holding great promise for helping to solve some of the world’s most intractable problems, including the sustainable production of energy fuels and critical medical drugs, and the safe removal of toxic and radioactive waste from the environment. However, for synthetic biology to reach its promise, the design and construction of biological systems must be as predictable as the assembly of computer hardware.
An important step towards attaining a higher degree of predictability in synthetic biology has been taken by a group of researchers with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) under the leadership of computational biologist Adam Arkin. Arkin and his team have developed an “adaptor” that makes the genetic engineering of microbial components substantially easier and more predictable by converting regulators of translation into regulators of transcription in Escherichia coli. Transcription and translation make up the two-step process by which the coded instructions of genes are used to synthesize proteins. (more…)