Transforming synthetic biology with cell-free systems

Arnaz Ranji*, Jeffrey C. Wu, Bradley C. Bundy, Michael C. Jewett

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

13 Scopus citations


Cell-free synthetic biology offers an unprecedented level of control and freedom of design for understanding, harnessing, and expanding the capabilities of natural biological systems. Inspired by advances in synthetic biology projects in vivo, recent years have witnessed the emergence of cell-free systems not only as a testing ground for our ability to engineer and analyze biology, but also as technologies capable of efficient and scalable synthesis of complex biological products. Dominant efforts in the field include: programmable nucleic acid circuits; nanomachines; cell-free protein synthesis; cell-free metabolic engineering; and minimal cells. The goals are understanding why nature's designs work the way they do, accelerating design-build-test loops for engineering biology, and conducting biochemical transformations for the rapid and efficient synthesis of a wide variety of complex products.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationSynthetic Biology
Subtitle of host publicationTools and Applications
Number of pages25
ISBN (Print)9780123944306
StatePublished - May 21 2013


  • Cell-free
  • DNA origami
  • Minimal cells
  • Nanomachines
  • Nucleic acid circuits
  • Protein evolution
  • Synthetic biology
  • Synthetic enzymatic pathways

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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