, Volume 4, Issue 1, pp 1-6,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 10 Oct 2009

Beyond directed evolution: Darwinian selection as a tool for synthetic biology

Abstract

Synthetic biology is an engineering approach that seeks to design and construct new biological parts, devices and systems, as well as to re-design existing components. However, rationally designed synthetic circuits may not work as expected due to the context-dependence of biological parts. Darwinian selection, the main mechanism through which evolution works, is a major force in creating biodiversity and may be a powerful tool for synthetic biology. This article reviews selection-based techniques and proposes strict Darwinian selection as an alternative approach for the identification and characterization of parts. Additionally, a strategy for fine-tuning of relatively complex circuits by coupling them to a master standard circuit is discussed.