The long and winding road: accidents and tinkering in software standardization

Software is based on universal principles but not its development. Relating software to hardware is never automatic or easy. Attempts to optimize software production and drastically reduce their costs (like in hardware) have been very restricted. Instead, highly-skilled and experienced individuals are ultimately responsible for project success. The long and convoluted path towards useful and … Leer más

Towards the right standards: the intersection of open science, responsible research and innovation, and standards

The introduction of standards in research and development leading to new products or innovative processes can be thought of as a particularly technical approach to framing scientific enterprises. At the other end of the spectrum, open science or responsible research and innovation may be initially thought of as concepts with no underlying technical approaches to … Leer más

Robust estimation of bacterial cell count from optical density

Optical density (OD) is widely used to estimate the density of cells in liquid culture, but cannot be compared between instruments without a standardized calibration protocol and is challenging to relate to actual cell count. In this work, this issue has been addressed with an interlaboratory study comparing three simple, low-cost, and highly accessible OD … Leer más

Unblocking the bottleneck – our do’s and don’ts for faster, more successful DNA outsourcing

Authors: Alan Walker & Davide De Lucrezia For much of its history, the exponential decline in the cost of DNA has been held as the central metric of progress in Synthetic Biology. Often compared to Moore’s law, it has sparked a wealth of startups and new research. But cost is an incomplete metric that hides … Leer más

Standardization of biological parts for S. cerevisiae

Emma Wattsa, Leonardo Rios Solisa,b*    aCentre for Synthetic and Systems Biology (SynthSys), University of Edinburgh, King’s Buildings, Edinburgh, United Kingdom  bInstitute for Bioengineering, School of Engineering, University of Edinburgh, King’s Buildings, Edinburgh, United Kingdom * Corresponding author:  Dr Leonardo Rios Solis (E -mail:; Telephone: +441316513561) As our understanding of genetic circuits has improved, … Leer más

DNA-BOT: A low-cost, automated DNA assembly platform for synthetic biology

Multi-part DNA assembly is the physical starting point for many projects in Synthetic and Molecular Biology, and the ability to explore a genetic design space by building extensive libraries of DNA constructs is essential for creating programmed biological systems. With multiple DNA assembly methods and standards adopted in the Synthetic Biology community, automation of the … Leer más

ShortBOL: a shorthand textual language to create SBOL designs quickly and easily

Synthetic Biology Open Language (SBOL) is an open standard for the representation of in silico biological designs, facilitating computational design, exchange, and reproducibility of biological systems. SBOL uses RDF/XML serialization to express RDF graphs as an XML documents. Although this syntax is ideal for precise machine communication, SBOL RDF/XML is rather complex for humans to … Leer más

From scientific standards to global standards

The standardization system referred to in this article is that of the standardization organizations officially recognized by the European Union and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) for the development of voluntary standards at European level following the principles of the World Trade Organization (OMC) in the standardization field; and that participate in the of … Leer más

Synthetic biology standards in the iGEM community and vice versa

November begins with the 2019 iGEM Jamboree in Boston, so let’s take a minute to consider the critical role that synthetic biology standards has played in the iGEM community and vice versa. The International Genetically Engineered Machines (iGEM) competition began in 2003 and rapidly grew from a few schools to a massive international event. One … Leer más

Manufactured life: the scientific and social challenges of synthetic biology

Since biology became secularised and the molecular scrutiny of life began, the possibility of artificially synthesising living cells in a laboratory became a tangible possibility. Contemporary synthetic biology aspires to design and manufacture new forms of life to obtain social and economic benefits. However, we cannot rule out the possibility that the creation of synthetic … Leer más