Enabling Accurate One-step DNA Assembly
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Synthetic biology is garnering excitement and anticipation – what will scientists create next? A novel bio-based therapeutic, chemical or material? Synthetic DNA for data storage? The applications of the field only continue to grow.
Long sequences of DNA are a key requirement for researchers to be able to develop novel synthetic biomolecules. However, assembling long sequences can prove problematic and slow down the process of gene assembly.
GenScript®, a world leading gene synthesis provider, hopes to combat some of the challenges associated with long DNA sequence assembly through an upgrade to its GenBrick™ Gene Synthesis platform. GenBrick™ utilizes a novel proprietary technology to enable accurate one-step DNA assembly. We spoke with Cedric Wu, Ph.D., GenScript Sr. Director of R&D to learn more about the capabilities of GenBrick™.
MC: Please can you tell us more about the GenBrick™ Gene Synthesis technology and the upgrades that have been made?
CW: GenBrick™ is superior to any other synthetic DNA services in the market with regard to quick turnaround time (starting at 23 days), delivery rate (>90%), sequence accuracy (100%, free of mutations), length (up to 200kb) and very competitive pricing (as low as $0.45/bp). Moreover, this service has been successfully tested and used by pioneers in the field of synthetic biology, such as the Synthetic Yeast 2.0 Project, led by Dr. Jef Boeke at the Johns Hopkins University (now at the New York University). Compared to our previous platform, the efficiency is greatly improved in this upgraded platform. We have updated our platform with many innovations and proprietary technologies, so that longer and faster GenBrick service is possible. Now, our “standard” GenBrick service size ranges from 15kb to 50kb, in contrast to what’s available in the market (15kb).
MC: How will GenBrick™ help scientists overcome challenges in synthetic biology research?
CW: Synthetic biologists are seeking for easier, more reliable and cheaper ways to design, construct, learn and optimize new biological systems, so that they can develop application in therapeutics, chemicals, materials, food and energy for humanity or environment protection. The availability of the upgraded GenBrick™ service save scientists months and thousands of dollars for a programmed chassis synthesis. More importantly, it is a more predictable, reliable, and quality service with free of charge professional support.
MC: Can you share any of the exciting research studies being undertaken by GenBrick™ customers?
CW: GenScript participates in Synthetic Yeast 2.0 which builds the world’s first synthetic eukaryotic genome. We synthesized 17 long DNA fragments for synthetic biologists through GenBrick platform. The majority of 10kb fragment contains multiple and bi-directional Lox P sites (highly repeat sequences) with many poly A regions, thus very difficult to synthesis. We delivered all on time and helped to assemble for a 170 kb yeast chromosome arm in chromosome VI.
Additionally, some researchers try to rewrite naturally available genetic codes so that we can ensure that the viruses cannot recognize the codes, cause infection or replicate inside an organism. Scientists also rewrite viruses to carry genes encoding proteins of interest to cure or create vaccines.
MC: How does the GenBrick™ platform complement the GenScript portfolio of products and services?
CW: This service fits in very well with GenScript’s comprehensive portfolio of molecular biology services. This upgraded service was added in and completes our comprehensive synthetic DNA product portfolio, such as DNA fragment, mutagenesis services, combinatorial library services, plasmid preparation, etc. We offer synthetic DNA services from 10s to 200k base pairs whether in order or in combination. It has made us a true one-stop-shop for all biologists and researchers.
MC: How easy to use is the platform? Is training required?
CW: Although GenBrick is built with automation tools and many proprietary assembling technologies, it could be easily customized. Customers get access to GenBrick Service with professional assistance. One only needs to bring their ideas to us and we will make it happen. No training is required.
Cedric Wu was speaking to Molly Campbell, Science Writer, Technology Networks.