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Genetic Circuit Design Principles

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Synthetic biology is a rapidly developing field which aims to repurpose natural biological systems through the rational design of existing/new biological parts and systems, with a strong emphasis on applying engineering principles. Over the years, synthetic gene circuits have been designed to control and manipulate cellular gene expressions in practical applications including biosensing, biomanufacturing, bioremediation, and biotherapy. However, the design of genetic circuits to achieve the desired performances remains a daunting challenge compounded by typical issues of modularity, orthogonality, context dependency, stability, and predictability. To address this challenge, there has been a great advancement in our ability to design gene circuit, with new tools being developed and design principles being elucidated. As such, this chapter aims to review the underpinning process involved in gene circuit design, with the emphasis on applying it to cell-based biosensors. Accordingly, appropriate computer-aided design tools to be used during the design and construction phases as well as modelling tools that facilitate the rational design-build-test-learn cycle will be explored. Lastly, a compilation of the common failure modes as faced by typical users and recommended potential engineering solutions is presented. Moving forward, adopting better characterized genetic parts and their interfaces, embedded with appropriate design rules and principles, accompanied by advanced computer-aided tools, the full capabilities of synthetic biology can be realized as previously anticipated.


  • Cell-based biosensor
  • Gene circuits
  • Design principles
  • Rational designs
  • Tuning capabilities
  • Model-driven approach

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Correspondence to Chueh Loo Poh .

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© 2020 Springer Nature Switzerland AG

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Yeoh, J.W., Gomez-Carretero, S., Chee, W.K.D., Teh, A.Y., Poh, C.L. (2020). Genetic Circuit Design Principles. In: Thouand, G. (eds) Handbook of Cell Biosensors. Springer, Cham.

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  • Publisher Name: Springer, Cham

  • Print ISBN: 978-3-319-47405-2

  • Online ISBN: 978-3-319-47405-2

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