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The promise of synthetic biology

Abstract

DNA synthesis has become one of the technological bases of a new concept in biology: synthetic biology. The vision of synthetic biology is a systematic, hierarchical design of artificial, biology-inspired systems using robust, standardized, and well-characterized building blocks. The design concept and examples from four fields of application (genetic circuits, protein design, platform technologies, and pathway engineering) are discussed, which demonstrate the usefulness and the promises of synthetic biology. The vision of synthetic biology is to develop complex systems by simplified solutions using available material and knowledge. Synthetic biology also opens a door toward new biomaterials that do not occur in nature.

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Acknowledgements

Inspiration and financial support from the EU-NEST program on synthetic biology (EUROBIOSYN) are greatly acknowledged. I am especially grateful for the fruitful discussions with Homme W. Hellinga and Sven Panke and for the constructive criticism by the unknown reviewers.

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Correspondence to Jürgen Pleiss.

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Pleiss, J. The promise of synthetic biology. Appl Microbiol Biotechnol 73, 735–739 (2006). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00253-006-0664-3

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Keywords

  • Modular design
  • Genetic circuits
  • Protein design
  • DNA synthesis