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Revolutionizing Genetic Engineering: How the Synthetic Biology Workstation Automates the Design-Build-Test Process

Introduction:

Biotechnology is the technology that uses biological systems, living organisms, or derivatives thereof, to make or modify products or processes for commercial application or benefit to humanity. Operators in the Global Biotechnology industry primarily use living organisms or molecular and cellular techniques to develop products that are used in agriculture, food, industrial and medicine production.

 

Synthetic Biology

Synthetic biology technology, a subfield of Biotechnology, aims to redesign natural biological systems for greater efficiency, as well as create new organisms as well as molecules with desired bio-attributes. These bioengineered microorganisms (and possibly other life forms) can produce pharmaceuticals, detect toxic chemicals, break down pollutants, repair defective genes, destroy cancer cells, and generate hydrogen for the post-petroleum economy.

 

How it does it? Any organism’s sensing, metabolic, and decision-making capabilities depend on unique sequence of DNA bases within their genome. These DNA base pair sequences determine how a cell grows and what goes on inside it or what it produces. By changing an organism’s genome sequence, we can alter these cellular functions, and thereby engineer them.

 

Let’s now consider some of the technologies and tools of synthetic biology which allow us to engineer biological systems. One core technology is DNA sequencing, or the ability to read DNA. DNA Sequencing, which determines the order of the DNA base pairs or biological instructions that are contained in a strand of DNA. The rapid speed of modern DNA sequencing technology has enabled the sequencing of complete genomes of numerous types and species of life, including microbes, animals, plants, and the human genome

 

Gene editing is another core biotechnology. It allows scientists to alter a DNA sequence by adding, swapping or removing genes.  CRISPR has become one of the most popular gene editing tools as it is fast, cheap, and easy to use. It can locate, cut, and replace DNA sequences at specific locations modifying the function of that gene. CRISPR uses modified RNA sequence to recognize DNA sequence in the genome and bind to it.  The RNA also binds to the Cas9 enzyme that cuts the DNA at the targeted location. CRISPR enables Gene therapy that add, delete, or correct genetic material to treat a disease.

 

The next technology is DNA synthesis which is the artificial creation of DNA molecules. A new DNA synthesis technique is called Enzymatic DNA synthesis (EDS). This technique employs DNA-synthesizing enzyme found in cells of the immune system. This enzyme can naturally add nucleotides to an existing DNA molecule in water, where DNA is most stable. The improved precision of this technique allow synthesis of DNA strands several thousand bases long or size of a medium-sized gene.

 

This technology has enabled the development of DNA printers. Earlier scientists would search out sections of DNA code in nature, cut the DNA out of existing organisms, and then insert it into a new host organism in a ‘cut-and-paste’ process. DNA printers can build artificial DNA from scratch with any DNA code you want. You don’t need to find DNA in nature anymore, you just buy it in from the internet. There are also several commercial companies that provide DNA synthesis services. Synthetic biology uses the aforementioned technologies to manipulate multi-cell systems in organisms in a way that can construct new biological parts.

 

Synthetic Biology Workstation

In the field of genetic engineering, the ability to design, build, and test genetic systems with precision and efficiency is crucial for advancing scientific research and technological innovation. This is where the Synthetic Biology Workstation comes into play. With its integrated hardware and software components, this advanced tool is revolutionizing the design-build-test process, making genetic engineering faster, more reliable, and more accessible than ever before.

Streamlining the Design Phase:

The design phase of genetic engineering traditionally involves painstaking manual design and optimization of genetic constructs. However, the Synthetic Biology Workstation automates this process through powerful software tools. Researchers can now input desired genetic functions, and the workstation utilizes bioinformatics algorithms and libraries to suggest optimized genetic sequences and identify potential design flaws. This automation accelerates the design phase, enabling researchers to explore a wider range of possibilities and make more informed decisions.

Efficient Build and Assembly:

Once the genetic design is finalized, the Synthetic Biology Workstation automates the build and assembly processes. Laboratory robotics and high-throughput DNA synthesis methods allow for rapid construction of genetic constructs, minimizing errors and reducing time and labor requirements. With the workstation’s precise liquid handling capabilities, researchers can accurately transfer genetic material and optimize reaction conditions, ensuring consistent and reliable results.

High-Throughput Testing:

The testing phase is a critical step in genetic engineering, where the functionality of the designed genetic constructs is evaluated. The Synthetic Biology Workstation automates this process by enabling high-throughput testing of multiple genetic constructs simultaneously. Through integrated analytical instruments and automated data collection, researchers can rapidly analyze gene expression, protein production, and metabolic activities. This scalability and speed greatly accelerate the evaluation and optimization of genetic designs.

Data Analysis and Iterative Refinement:

One of the most significant advantages of the Synthetic Biology Workstation is its integration of data analysis tools. Large datasets generated during the design-build-test process can be analyzed using advanced algorithms and machine learning techniques. This analysis helps identify patterns, correlations, and potential areas for improvement, leading to iterative refinement of genetic designs. The workstation facilitates data-driven decision-making, enabling researchers to optimize genetic systems based on real-time experimental results.

Unlocking Innovation and Collaboration:

By automating the design-build-test process, the Synthetic Biology Workstation not only accelerates genetic engineering but also fosters innovation and collaboration. Researchers can share standardized genetic parts, protocols, and data, creating a collaborative environment for knowledge exchange and reproducibility. The workstation’s compatibility with open-source databases and community-driven platforms further enhances collaboration, empowering scientists worldwide to build upon each other’s work and accelerate advancements in the field.

 

For in-depth understanding on Synthetic Biology Workstation   technology and applications please visit: The Synthetic Biology Workstation: Unleashing the Power of Genetic Engineering

 

Conclusion:

The Synthetic Biology Workstation represents a game-changing advancement in genetic engineering by automating the design-build-test process. With its integration of hardware, software, and automation capabilities, the workstation streamlines genetic design, accelerates construction, and enables high-throughput testing. By reducing manual labor, minimizing errors, and leveraging data analysis tools, researchers can focus on innovation and iteration, pushing the boundaries of genetic engineering. As this technology continues to evolve, we can expect even greater advancements and discoveries in the exciting field of synthetic biology. The future of genetic engineering is being shaped by the powerful capabilities of the Synthetic Biology Workstation, paving the way for transformative applications in healthcare, agriculture, industry, and beyond.

 

 

About Rajesh Uppal

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