Monday, January 14, 2008

Synthetic Biology

Drew Endy Foundations for engineering biology

the four challenges that greatly limit engineering biology today are 1)biological complexity; 2)the tedious and unreliable construction and characterization of synthetic biological systems; 3)the spontaneous variation of biological systems; and 4) evolution.

Lessons from the past
Registry of Standard Biological Parts:

separation of deign and implementation
for example, one group design useful DNA sequences and another group synthesize the piece of DNA chemically. (it seems possible now)


design of reproducing machines
reliable computing with unreliable components
error detection & correction mechanism
self-replicating automata

additional reading:
Elowitz, M. B. & Leibler, S. A synthetic oscillatory network of transcriptional
regulators. Nature 403, 335–-338 (2000)

Sprinzak, D. & Elowitz, M. B. Reconstruction of genetic circuits. Nature