Synthetic Biology

Tools and Applications

Edited by

  • Huimin Zhao, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL, USA

Synthetic Biology provides a framework to examine key enabling components in the emerging area of synthetic biology. Chapters contributed by leaders in the field address tools and methodologies developed for engineering biological systems at many levels, including molecular, pathway, network, whole cell, and multi-cell levels. The book highlights exciting practical applications of synthetic biology such as microbial production of biofuels and drugs, artificial cells, synthetic viruses, and artificial photosynthesis. The roles of computers and computational design are discussed, as well as future prospects in the field, including cell-free synthetic biology and engineering synthetic ecosystems.

Synthetic biology is the design and construction of new biological entities, such as enzymes, genetic circuits, and cells, or the redesign of existing biological systems. It builds on the advances in molecular, cell, and systems biology and seeks to transform biology in the same way that synthesis transformed chemistry and integrated circuit design transformed computing. The element that distinguishes synthetic biology from traditional molecular and cellular biology is the focus on the design and construction of core components that can be modeled, understood, and tuned to meet specific performance criteria and the assembly of these smaller parts and devices into larger integrated systems that solve specific biotechnology problems.

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Geneticists, molecular biologists, physicists, chemists, and bioengineers


Book information

  • Published: May 2013
  • ISBN: 978-0-12-394430-6


"Chemical, biological, and biochemical engineers describe tools and methodologies developed for engineering biological systems at a wide range of levels, including molecular, pathway, network, whole cell, and multi-cell. They also explore practical applications of synthetic biology, a branch of genetic engineering that incorporates systems biology."--Reference and Research Book News, August 2013

“The proposed book is exclusively focused on synthetic biology. It brings together the thought leaders in this emerging field, giving expert accounts and their opinions of special topics in synthetic biology…. This might be the first dedicated, edited book for synthetic biology.”--Dr. Qing Lin, State University of New York at Buffalo, Buffalo, NY, USA

Table of Contents

Section I. Synthesis and engineering tools in synthetic biology
Chapter 1. DNA synthesis
Chapter 2. Protein engineering
Chapter 3. Pathway engineering
Chapter 4. Biological standardization

Section II. Computational and theoretical tools in synthetic biology
Chapter 5. Biocomplexity issues in synthetic biology
Chapter 6. Computational protein design
Chapter 7. Computer-Aided Design in Synthetic Biology
Chapter 8. Computational tools for strain design

Sections III. Applications in synthetic biology
Chapter 9. Pathway/network level: design and applications of therapeutic genetic circuits 
Chapter 10. Pathway/network level: production of drugs
Chapter 11. Pathway/network level: synthesis of new fuels
Chapter 12. Organism level: genome assembly
Chapter 13. Multi-cell level: synthetic prey-predator system 

Section IV. Future prospects
Chapter 14. Design of artificial cells
Chapter 15. Cell-free synthetic biology
Chapter 16. Artificial photosynthesis
Chapter 17. Engineering synthetic ecosystems