The use of living cells as a therapy is a method used to treat diseases that have not been previously treated. This is achieved using a synthetic biology approach, which is an area that combines tools and concepts from biology and engineering.
Now a new discovery by Northwestern University researchers can help bioengineers create genetic programs using synthetic biology. The researchers, led by synthetic biologist Joshua Leonard in collaboration with Ned Bagheri of the University of Washington, developed a design-designed process that uses parts from different types of “tools” to produce complex genetic circuits to be used for cell engineering, according to the university report.
Study, published in the journal Scientific progress, was carried out by designing dozens of genetic circuits and testing them. This new technology uses computer modeling to better identify useful genetic designs. When launched before being made in the lab, this directs researchers to designs that offer better capabilities.
This is especially important because it can be difficult and time consuming to develop genetic programs when trial and error are the only tools in the research box.
Development of genetic circles
“To create a cell, we first encode the desired biological function in a piece of DNA, and that DNA program is then delivered to the human cell to guide its execution of the desired function, such as gene activation only in response to certain signals in the cellular environment,” he said synthetically. biologist Joshua Leonard.
The scientists used a set of genetic parts made in Leonard’s laboratory. They paired them with computational tools and simulated potential genetic programs before moving on to experiments. It has been seen that a wide range of genetic programs that each perform a function in a human cell can be constructed so that each program works as intended. Moreover, the designs worked perfectly for the first time.
“In my experience, nothing in science works that way; nothing works the first time. We usually spend a lot of time debugging and refining any new genetic design before it starts working as desired,” Leonard explained. “If every design works as expected, we’re no longer limited to building by trial and error. Instead, we can spend time evaluating ideas that might be useful to perfect on really great ideas.”
The researchers said the genetic assemblies they developed and implemented in this study were more complex than their predecessors, allowing engineer cells to perform more sophisticated functions and making therapies safer and more effective. Leonard says, “With this new ability, we have made a big step in the possibility of true biology engineering.”