Toward scalable parts families for predictable design of biological circuits

Julius B. Lucks*, Lei Qi, Weston R. Whitaker, Adam P. Arkin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

80 Scopus citations

Abstract

Our current ability to engineer biological circuits is hindered by design cycles that are costly in terms of time and money, with constructs failing to operate as desired, or evolving away from the desired function once deployed. Synthetic biologists seek to understand biological design principles and use them to create technologies that increase the efficiency of the genetic engineering design cycle. Central to the approach is the creation of biological parts - encapsulated functions that can be composited together to create new pathways with predictable behaviors. We define five desirable characteristics of biological parts - independence, reliability, tunability, orthogonality and composability, and review studies of small natural and synthetic biological circuits that provide insights into each of these characteristics. We propose that the creation of appropriate sets of families of parts with these properties is a prerequisite for efficient, predictable engineering of new function in cells and will enable a large increase in the sophistication of genetic engineering applications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)567-573
Number of pages7
JournalCurrent Opinion in Microbiology
Volume11
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases

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