Researchers led by James J. Collins, professor of bioengineering, have found a more systematic way, using computer modeling, to construct biological “circuits” which are easier to predict how they will behave before they are synthesized. Their approach eliminates the current trial and error frustrations that can take months and years of tweaking. The technique used genetic timer circuit in yeast to more accurately engineer a key brewing process for the removal of sedimentation in beer and wine. It is also a useful approach for producing therapeutic drugs and biofuels.
“Our work also provides an accessible method for introducing predictable, controlled variablility to networks, a feature that is increasingly becoming desirable as synthetic biology enters its second decade,” Collins concluded in his recent Nature Biotechnology paper .