Weekly Mashup #19

The Synthetic Biology Mashup is a weekly review of articles and news related to synthetic biology and metabolic engineering. While we share most of this on our twitter feed, if you need to catch up on this week’s news just read ahead! 

Expending Synthetic Biology’s toolbox by engineering light-operated genetic circuits

Scientists at Rice University have developed light-induced genetic circuits in bacteria operating as function generators and capable of producing finely tuned linearized dynamics, sinusoidal oscillations, and complex waveforms. These cells were engineered using optogenetics. The technique, primarily used in neurosciences to control neuronal activities uses light-sensitive membrane proteins to render cells sensitive to specific wavelengths of light. The engineered bacteria were activated using LEDs and monitored through a fluorescence output. The toolset developed in this work published in Nature Methods should facilitate the design and engineering of biological systems.

TeselaGen’s Rapid Prototyping platform featured in TechCrunch

The boundary between technology and biology is becoming thinner and thinner. This week, as a reminder, we have the famous news website focused on information technology companies TechCrunch publishing an article about Synthetic Biology company TeselaGen. TeselaGen has built a software platform and a set of sequence editing tools that they hope will assist in rapid prototyping for synthetic biology. Their tool can be used to view and edit sequence in compliance with the Synthetic Biology Open Language standard. It will be free for academics and available as a paid subscription for commercial use.

Fireblight Resistant Apples Developed by ETH Zurich and Julius Kühn Institute

Plant Biotechnology Journal published an article this week detailing the successful creation of fireblight resistant apples by ETH Zurich and Julius Kühn Institute. Fireblight is a bacterial infectious disease affecting fruits of the Rosaceae family, costing millions to farmers annually throughout the world. Researchers identified a resistance gene (FB_MR5) from a wild apple and introduced it into the farmed Gala apple using cis-genetic engineering techniques. The gene encodes a protein that recognises the pathogenic bacterium’s surface proteins and initiates a defence mechanism within the plant. The engineered plants have shown resistance in greenhouses.

Synthetic Biology Flash News

Precision Biosciences, a genome engineering technology company, and Agrivida, a company focusing on enzyme solutions, entered this week into a trait development collaboration agreement for the modification of genes through the Directed Nuclease Editor tool, property of Precision.

Intrexon acquired a high-tech laboratory in Budapest from Codexis Inc., a biocatalyst developer. This move strengthens Intrexon’s presence in strain and protein development, as well as its presence in Europe.

That’s it for this week’s Synthetic Biology Mashup! A suggestion or a question? Shoot us an email!

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