Synthetic biology is an approach to engineer biology. Core to the discipline is genetic engineering, which is made more akin to engineering by adding the levels of standardization, automation, and abstraction.

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Are there known downsides to removing UV mutation hotspots to prevent some skin cancers (Genetic sunblock)?

Khavari et al. recently demonstrated that a significant fraction of one of the major forms of skin cancer (cutaneous squamous cell carcinomas) are associated with a mutated KNSTRN gene (a protein ...
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Assembling DNA fragments with ~10kb overlap in vitro

Let's say I have two fragments of bacterial DNA (~50kb in length each) that overlap on the ends by roughly ~10kb; the overlap sequences are unknown. I would like to assemble these into longer ...
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Ribosomal Turing Machines, DNA/RNA computation

I'm a computer science guy, recently crossing over to do some research in computational biology on RNA secondary structure prediction. While looking through the materials I got a crazy idea, what if ...
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How can CI repressor both activate and repress $P_{RM}$ promoter found in $\lambda$ phage?

I'm reading a paper where the authors constructed a toggle switch that uses bidirectional $P_R/P_{RM}$ promoter found in the $\lambda$ phage. There are 3 binding sites - $O_R1$, $O_R2$, $O_R3$ - ...
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Activity of glucokinase

From Solomon et al, 2013 ACC Synthetic biology and from this video : Here, there are 2 competing reactions for glucose - one with glk as enzyme and other with gdh as enzyme. In the graph, y axis ...
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What is the relation between plasmid concentration and mRNA levels?

Suppose a simple synthetic construct, consisting of a constitutive promoter and a single gene: One of the simplest ways to model GFP transcription is to use an ODE: $\frac{d [GFP_{mRNA}]}{dt} = a - ...
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How predictably will RNA polymerase not translate repetitive sequences?

I am working on an (expensive) synthetic construct, which happens to have many "repetitive" sequences within it that are integral to its function. Primarily, the two sequences that are worrying me ...
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82 views

Can a plant be programmed to produce any arbitrary object?

I'm wondering if a plant can be programmed (by modifying its genes) to grow into any shape that it's programming instructs. I understand that a plants genes are its instructions of how to convert the ...
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130 views

Synthetic construct with multiple ORFs not expressing

I designed a synthetic construct on paper and got it synthesized from a company. The objective was to make a vector which can be used to study both transcriptional and post-transcriptional regulation ...
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305 views

Is there an optimal composition and length for protein linkers in FRET?

I'm designing a protein that I'd like to use in FRET reporting. General idea on the shape is: FRETprotein1--Linker--CleavageSite--Linker--FRETprotein2. I would like to know what AA are best for the ...
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How significant is RNA degradation with removal of cap/polyA's in eukaryotes, or UTR's in prokaryotes?

Question is rather self-explanatory, but segmented into two parts. I'm attempting to make use of a repression system that employs cleaving RNA at specific areas with ribozymes with the intent of ...
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451 views

How to secrete a recombinant protein from E. coli?

What are some secretory pathways that can be used to secrete a recombinant bacterial enzyme from E. coli? I have a recombinant protein (29kDa) that I will express in E. coli BL21 cells. For now I ...
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429 views

What can cause incompatible sticky ends to be ligated?

Actual question I have reason to believe (details see below) that in a ligation I carried out, an EcoRI sticky end (EcoRI: G'AATT_C) and an XmaI sticky end (XmaI: C'CCGG_G) were somehow ligated ...
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What are common causes of unexpected ligation products?

I digested two plasmids, one with EcoRI and AgeI and the other with EcoRI and XmaI. Digests looked as expected, so I purified the respective fragments and set up the T4 DNA ligation (AgeI and XmaI ...
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Do the phage repressors CI and Mnt exhibit crosstalk?

I am interested in using the CI and Mnt proteins as well as their respective promoters (pR and Pmnt) within the same synthetic system, but am concerned as to their similarity and potential crosstalk. ...
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248 views

Why isn't there a standard unit of promoter strength?

Sometimes in synthetic biology, we need to know rates of transcription of one promoter in relation to others (particularly inducible vs constitutive) in order to perform tasks like balancing ...
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186 views

Has synthetic biology created new plants or animals as of 2013?

I've seen a Ted.com talk where the speaker suggests that modern science can create new micro organisms, like bacteria with a pre- defined new set of traits. But has anyone create a new species of ...
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Can two hammerhead ribozymes simultaneously cleave each other?

I am working on a project in which an XOR gate is being built by having two hammerhead ribozymes simultaneously cleave each other when both are expressed, but have these ribozymes cleave a target ...
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58 views

How can I accurately predict proper transgenic protein function/structure from different species?

I am currently building a synthetic system in E.coli, and am often faced with the need to use genes from other distant prokaryotes. I know that myself and most of my colleagues resort to an educated ...
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162 views

Is there a practical upper limit to amount of nucleotides or genes in a transformed plasmid?

I'm currently working on a synthetic biology project which involves working with lots of different parts. I would ultimately like to integrate these genes by transforming a single plasmid. I've heard ...
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Can spider silk be synthesized for 3D printing with spider silk?

With the recent rise in 3D printing, I keep hearing about more novel ways to use the technology: cell 3D printing, liquid aluminum or plastic 3D printing. For example, this Ted talk deals with ...
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Has anyone ever sucessfully translated xRNA or yRNA?

I've recently been researching the subject of size-expanded nucleobases in alternative genetic sets. Many papers describe the, at least, partial success in replicating xDNA and yDNA, as well as ...
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What is the difference between xDNA and yDNA?

Wikipedia states that: xDNA contains expanded bases, in which a benzene ring has been added, which may pair with canon bases, resulting in four possible base-pairs (8 bases:xA-T,xT-A,xC-G,xG-C, 16 ...
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How are Genetic Circuits Modelled?

I've read a recent Nature Methods paper by Moon T.S. et al, in which a synthetic genetic circuit consisting of layered logic gates was created. For example, the paper, a circuit is modelled in Figure ...
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Creating a cell, not from another cell. Will it be possible?

If some time in the future, we can know exactly what a cell (for example simple prokaryote bacteria) contains, (I mean, exactly which molecules, the shape of them, the density of each, everything), ...
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Difference between genetic engineering and synthetic biology

I've recently seen the term synthetic biology being used to describe research involving genetic modification of organisms. What is the difference between synthetic biology and genetic engineering? Is ...
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125 views

How realistic is to use DNA for long term storage?

This is mainly a followup question to the recent paper Next-Generation Digital Information Storage in DNA. Personally, while I agree about the data density of the format, I can't help point out the ...
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What's the state of the art in designing and creating your own life forms?

What's the state of the art for solving the following problem. You imagine a set of features that you want a life-form to have. Just to take an arbitrary example, say you want your life-form to have ...
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123 views

Designing genes with DNAWorks: Maximum nonzero score?

I'm designing a gene in DNAWorks, and I'm unable to find a set of conditions that gives an "overall score" of zero (which is what I normally insist on). People that have used DNAWorks: what's the ...
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332 views

Introductory literature for synthetic / systems biology?

I'm a computer engineer (MsC Computer Engineering) who's looking to switch into the field of synthetic / systems biology. I've got a comprehensive layman's understanding of evolution, genetics, ...
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201 views

T7 phage promoter action in mammals

Does anyone know if the T7 phage promoter is efficient in mammalian systems?
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333 views

What is the highest competency possible for E coli?

I am looking to find a highly competent E coli strain. I am making a library of a ~6.6kb plasmid and I am not getting high enough efficiency. Does anyone have a suggestion of a strain/protocol with ...
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Synthetic biology using existing cells

I was watching the video at this link: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-17436365 The speaker says that a cell is taken and its original DNA content is stripped out and replaced with ...
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DNA synthesis companies: cost per base, turn-around time, codon-optimization algorithms

I would like to synthesize a 3.4kb gene (originally isolated from soil bacteria) and transform it into E. coli. There are several companies (DNA2.0, GeneScript, BlueHeron) which will synthesize the ...
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Could an organism theoretically produce a metamaterial-like structure? [closed]

I'm curious to know if this is physically feasible because during my reading up on synthetic biology and just general research i realise that life is capable of producing some exquisitely complex ...
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Can scientists create totally synthetic life?

This particular question has been of a great deal of interest to me, especially since it dives at the heart of abiogenesis.
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Has anyone tried Gibson Assembly Optimizations?

Has anyone tried the chew back-anneal in vitro DNA assembly method (known as Gibson Assembly) for difficult sequences, like GC-rich sequences? How big constructs could you efficiently assemble? Did ...
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What is the criticality of the ribosome binding site relative to the start codon in prokaryotic translation?

In prokaryotic translation, how critical for efficient translation is the location of the ribosome binding site, relative to the start codon? Ideally, it is supposed to be -7b away from the start. ...