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

SBOL-OWL: an ontological approach for the representation of synthetic biology information

Standard representation of data is key in synthetic biology and, in this context, the Synthetic Biology Open Language (SBOL) has emerged as a data standard to represent information about genetic circuits. The SBOL-OWL ontology is a useful resource for the community as a semantic layer for genetic circuit designs. This way, queries can be simplified and … Leer más

Synthetic Biology and evolution: friends or foes?

Synthetic biology (SB) is an engineering view on biotechnology. Although there is a lack of consensus on the definition of this emerging discipline, the most accepted one is that SB consists of designing, redesigning and constructing biological modules, systems, and machines in a predictive way, converting them into à la carte sources of products and … Leer más