Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Synbiota Users Raise Over $3 Million Dollars

Synbiota Users Raise Over $3 Million Dollars After Graduating From Indie Bio Accelerator

Just 18 months after launch, Synbiota Inc's global network of biohackers has produced successful Synthetic Biology startups.

Toronto, Canada (PRWEB) November 12, 2014

Indie Bio and Synbiota have teamed up to offer an exciting 4 month opportunity for those who are willing to take a pioneering leap into Synthetic Biology. The inaugural Summer 2014 cohort was primarily composed of teams from the Synbiota Network and because of their strong applications, great ideas, and hard work, they raised more than $3,000,000 in follow-up funding - Congrats biohackers!

[caption id="attachment_243" align="aligncenter" width="554"]Synbiota Users Raise Over $3 Million Dollars Synbiota Users Raise Over $3 Million Dollars[/caption]

Indie Bio is a wetware accelerator that focuses on entrepreneurs and researchers building technologies in or around the fields of synthetic biology and life science. Indie Bio offers 10 opportunities for $50,000 in seed funding, lab space, as well as mentorship to help take an idea to a product, in exchange for a 8% stake.

Synbiota is a web-based virtual lab that has been designed to support the development of synthetic biology solutions. With an electronic lab book, file storage, team management, IP tracking, metrics, GENtle3; the open-source DNA design tool, and an active community of researchers and enthusiasts spanning the entire globe, Synbiota is an effective R&D platform for individuals or teams of any size.

What Indie Bio graduates are saying about the opportunity:

“Making cow-free milk is not easy," says Ryan Pandya, co-founder of Muufri "but the potential benefits for both humans and cows are undeniable. The Muufri team assembled because of a relationship between New Harvest, Synbiota, and Indie Bio. We were early adopters of Synbiota’s technology and it enabled us to rapidly develop and document our Synthetic Biology R&D, which recently led us to a $2,000,000 investment."

“Synbiota was the first to recognize our talents through BricoBio and invited us to join their online community of biohackers" says Sarah Choukah, co-founder ofHyasynth. "Soon after, with Synbiota we were able to begin development and connect with Indie Bio to get our first round of funding for Hyasynth. We’re now raising additional funds, and Hyasynth is on trajectory to create the world’s first THC producing yeast.”

Apply via Synbiota and link an existing project to increase the chances of being accepted into the program. Showcasing real progress, project organization, and clarity of vision is the best way to secure a position at Indie Bio. Moreover, Synbiota is the primary tool that all members of Indie Bio will use to manage IP and projects throughout the program.

Indie Bio is currently accepting applications for the second cohort, which will run from January 2015 to May 2015 in Silicon Valley. Indie Bio isn’t going to wait until all applications are in to decide on the best applicants. If the Indie Bio team thinks an idea is fundable, they will fund it right away, so the early applicants have a better chance of getting into the program.

Contact indiebio(at)synbiota(dot)com or call 1-87-SYNBIOTA if there are any questions.

Application Deadline for Indie Bio Silicon Valley is December 7th, 2014.

About Synbiota:
Synbiota Inc. was founded in April 2013 in Toronto with the mission to streamline life science R&D and to make it universally accessible. Synbiota was a Fellow of Mozilla Labs, winner of 2014 SXSW Interactive, winner Hacking Health, and winner 48hrs in the Hub. Synbiota is the creator of GENtle the open-source, web-based DNA design tool. Synbiota initiated #ScienceHack, a distributed effort to use Synthetic Biology and Open Science to produce real anti-cancer medicine. Press package.

About Indie Bio:
Indie Bio is the world’s first Synthetic Biology accelerator devoted to funding and building startups dedicated solving humanity’s most pressing problems through biology. Indie Bio funds 4 Synthetic Biology accelerator cohorts per year in both San Francisco, USA., and Cork, Ireland.

Synthetic Biology Market to Reach $5,630 Million by 2018

Synthetic Biology Market Growth Analysis and 2018 Worldwide Forecasts

According to this synthetic biology market report, the industry is expected to reach $5,630.4 Million by 2018 from $1,923.1 Million in 2013, growing at a CAGR of 24% during the forecast period.

DALLAS, November 25, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- adds Synthetic Biology Market by Tool (XNA, Chassis, Oligos, Enzymes, Cloning kits), Technology (Bioinformatics, Nanotechnology, Gene Synthesis, Cloning & Sequencing), Application (Biofuels, Pharmaceuticals, Biomaterials, Bioremediation) - Global Forecast to 2018 as well as Global Synthetic Biology Market 2014-2018 research reports to the biotechnology intelligence collection of its online library.

[caption id="attachment_239" align="aligncenter" width="650"]Synthetic Biology Market to Reach $5,630 Million by 2018 Synthetic Biology Market to Reach $5,630 Million by 2018[/caption]

The synthetic biology market is rapidly evolving, with various technological advancements that have resulted in a paradigm shift within the market. This has resulted in advanced production of synthetic genes and chassis to develop synthetic organisms from scratch. The Synthetic Biology Market by Tool, Technology, Application - Global Forecast to 2018 research report says in 2013, the oligo nucleotides segment accounted for the largest share of the global synthetic biology market, by tool, while enabling technologies accounted for the largest share of the synthetic biology market, by technology. The medical application segment accounted for a major share of the synthetic biology applications market in 2013. North America accounted for the largest share of the global synthetic biology market, followed by Europe, Asia, and the Rest of the World (RoW). In the coming years, Europe is expected to witness the highest growth rate, with emphasis on Germany, U.K., France, Denmark, Switzerland, and Rest of Europe. These countries are expected to serve as revenue pockets for synthetic biology manufacturers.

The global synthetic biology market witnesses high-competitive intensity as there are several big and many small firms with similar product offerings. These companies adopt various strategies (new product launches, acquisitions, and geographical expansions) to increase their market shares and to establish a strong foothold in the global market. This report will enrich both established firms as well as new entrants/smaller firms to gauge the pulse of the market, which in turn helps the firms to garner a greater market share. Firms purchasing the report could use any one or a combination of the below mentioned five strategies (market penetration, product development/innovation, market development, market diversification, and competitive assessment)for strengthening their market shares.

According to this synthetic biology market report, the industry is expected to reach $5,630.4 Million by 2018 from $1,923.1 Million in 2013, growing at a CAGR of 24% during the forecast period. Companies profiled in this research include Amyris Inc., DuPont, Genscript USA Inc., Intrexon Corporation, Integrated DNA Technologies (IDT) Inc., New England Biolabs Inc., Novozymes, Royal DSM N.V., Synthetic Genomics Inc. and Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc. Order a copy of this research at .

The Global Synthetic Biology Market 2014-2018 research report categorizes the industry on the basis of technology into four segments: Genome Engineering, DNA Sequencing, Bioinformatics and Biological Components and Integrated Systems. The term synthetic biology covers the designing and engineering of completely new biological parts, devices, and organisms as well as the redesigning of natural biological systems that provide improved and desirable functions. It is considered to be a form of extreme genetic engineering because it not only alters existing metabolic pathways, but also creates new ones. The engineered biological systems can be used to manipulate chemicals, fabricate materials and structures, produce energy, provide GM food, improve the efficiency of drugs and vaccines, and maintain a sustainable environment. This research ( ) forecasts that the Global Synthetic Biology market will grow at a CAGR of 33.8% over the period 2013-2018.

The Global Synthetic Biology Market 2014-2018 report has been prepared based on an in-depth market analysis with inputs from industry experts. The report covers the Americas and the EMEA and APAC regions; it also covers the Global Synthetic Biology market landscape and its growth prospects in the coming years. The report also includes a discussion of the key vendors operating in this market. It helps answer questions like what will the market size be in 2018 and what will the growth rate be? What are the key market trends? What is driving this market? What are the challenges to market growth? Who are the key vendors in this market space? What are the market opportunities and threats faced by the key vendors? What are the strengths and weaknesses of the key vendors?

Companies active in the synthetic biology market and discussed in this research include Amyris Inc., E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Co., Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc., Synthetic Genomics Inc., Algenol Biofuels Inc., ATG: biosynthetics GmbH, Bayer AG, Bioneer Corp., Biosearch Technologies Inc., Bristol-Myers Squibb Co., CBC Comprehensive Biomarker Center GmbH, Cobalt Technologies, Evolva Holdings SA, Exxon Mobil Corp., GeneWorks Pty Ltd., Genomatica Inc., Gevo Inc., Ginkgo Bioworks, Green Biologics Ltd., New England Biolabs Inc., OriGene Technologies Inc., REG Life Sciences LLC, Royal DSM and Synthorx Inc. Order a copy of this report at .

Explore other newly published biotechnology market research reports available with at .

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News Release Source : Synthetic Biology Market Growth Analysis and 2018 Worldwide Forecasts

Monday, October 27, 2014

Synthetic Biology on Ordinary Paper

Synthetic biology on ordinary paper, results off the page

By combining efforts and innovations, Wyss Institute scientists develop synthetic gene controls for programmable diagnostics and biosensors, delivered out of the lab on pocket-sized slips of paper



New achievements in synthetic biology announced today by researchers at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering, which will allow complex cellular recognition reactions to proceed outside of living cells, will dare scientists to dream big: there could one day be inexpensive, shippable and accurate test kits that use saliva or a drop of blood to identify specific disease or infection — a feat that could be accomplished anywhere in the world, within minutes and without laboratory support, just by using a pocket–sized paper diagnostic tool.

[caption id="attachment_231" align="aligncenter" width="635"]Synthetic Biology on Ordinary Paper Wyss Institute scientists have embedded effective synthetic gene networks in pocket-sized slips of paper. An array of RNA–activated sensors uses visible color changing proteins to indicate presence of a targeted RNA, capable of identifying pathogens such as antibiotic–resistant bacteria and strain–specific Ebola virus. Credit: Harvard's Wyss Institute[/caption]

That once far–fetched idea seems within closer reach as a result of two new studies describing the advances, published today in Cell, accomplished through extensive cross–team collaboration between two teams at the Wyss Institute headed by Wyss Core Faculty Members James Collins, Ph.D., and Peng Yin, Ph.D..

Wyss Institute scientists discuss the collaborative environment and team effort that led to two breakthroughs in synthetic biology that can either stand alone as distinct advances – or combine forces to create truly tantalizing potentials in diagnostics and gene therapies. Credit: Harvard’s Wyss Institute

"In the last fifteen years, there have been exciting advances in synthetic biology," said Collins, who is also Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Medicine at Boston University, and Co–Director and Co–Founder of the Center of Synthetic Biology. "But until now, researchers have been limited in their progress due to the complexity of biological systems and the challenges faced when trying to re–purpose them. Synthetic biology has been confined to the laboratory, operating within living cells or in liquid–solution test tubes."

The conventional process can be thought of through an analogy to computer programming. Synthetic gene networks are built to carry out functions, similar to software applications, within a living cell or in a liquid solution, which is considered the "operating system".

"What we have been able to do is to create an in vitro, sterile, abiotic operating system upon which we can rationally design synthetic, biological mechanisms to carry out specific functions," said Collins, senior author of the first study, "Paper–Based Synthetic Gene Networks".

Leveraging an innovation for chemistry–based paper diagnostics previously devised by Wyss Institute Core Faculty Member George Whitesides, Ph.D. , the new in vitro operating system is ordinary paper.

"We've harnessed the genetic machinery of cells and embedded them in the fiber matrix of paper, which can then be freeze dried for storage and transport — we can now take synthetic biology out of the lab and use it anywhere to better understand our health and the environment," said lead author and Wyss Staff Scientist Keith Pardee, Ph.D.

Biological Programs on Paper

Using standard equipment at his lab bench and commercially–available, cell–free systems, Pardee designed and built a wide range of paper–based diagnostics and biosensors. He also used commonly–used fluorescent and color–changing proteins to provide visible indication that the mechanisms were working. Once built, the paper–based tools can be freeze dried for safe room–temperature storage and shipping, maintaining their effectiveness for up to one year. To be activated, the freeze–dried paper need simply be rehydrated with water.

The paper–based platform can also be used in the lab to save a huge amount of time and cost as compared to conventional in vivo methods of validating tools for cell–based research. "Where it would normally take two or three days to validate a tool inside of a living cell, this can be done using a synthetic biology paper–based platform in as little as 90 minutes," Pardee said.

As proof of concept, Collins and Pardee demonstrated a variety of effective paper–based tools ranging from small molecule and RNA actuation of genetic switches, to rapid design and construction of complex gene circuits, to programmable paper–based diagnostics that can detect antibiotic resistant bacteria and even strain–specific Ebola virus.

The Ebola sensor was created by using the paper–based method and utilized a novel gene regulator called a "toehold switch", a new system for gene expression control with unparalleled programmability and flexibility reported in the second study inCell. Although its inventors had designed the toehold switch to regulate genes inside living cells, its function was easily transferred to the convenience of ordinary freeze–dried paper, showcasing the true robustness of both the freeze–dried paper technique and the toehold switch.

The Ebola sensor was conceived by Wyss Institute Postdoctoral Fellow Alex Green, Ph.D., co–inventor of the toehold switch regulator and lead author of its report, after the ongoing West Africa crisis brought the deadly pathogen to global spotlight. Due to its easy assembly and fast prototyping ability, Green was eager to test the paper–based platform as an operating system for the toehold switch, which he had initially developed for programming gene expression in living cells. Green reached out to Pardee and together they assembled the prototype Ebola sensor in less than a day and then developed an assay that can differentiate between Sudan and Zaire virus strains within an hour of exposure.

Putting the 'Synthetic' in 'Synthetic Biology'

The toehold switch works as such an accurate biosensor because it can be programmed to only react with specific, intended targets, producing true "switch" behavior with an unprecedented ability to turn on targeted gene expression. It can be programmed to precisely detect an RNA signature of virtually any kind and then turn on production of a specific protein.

Reported in the paper "Toehold Switches: De–Novo–Designed Regulators of Gene Expression", Green developed the toehold switch gene regulator with senior author Yin, who is Associate Professor in the Department of Systems Biology at Harvard Medical School in addition to being a Wyss Core Faculty Member.

"While conventional synthetic biology complicates accuracy and functionality because it relies on re–purposing and re–wiring existing biological parts, the toehold switch is inspired by Nature but is an entirely novel, de–novo–designed gene expression regulator," said Yin.

"We looked at our progress to rationally design dynamic DNA nanodevices in test tubes and applied that same fundamental principle to solve problems in synthetic biology," said Yin. The resulting toehold switch, an RNA–based organic nanodevice, is a truly "synthetic" synthetic gene regulator with 40–fold better ability to control gene expression than conventional regulators.

The toehold switch functions so precisely that many different toehold switches can operate simultaneously in the same cell. This allows several toehold switches to be linked together, creating a complex circuit, which could be programmed to carry out multiple–step functions such as first detecting a pathogen and then delivering an appropriate therapy.

"Instead of re–purposing an existing part that was evolved by Nature, we wanted to change our way of thinking, leverage naturally–occurring principles, and build from scratch," Green said. His Ph.D. in materials science and strong computer programming skills allowed him to approach biology with a fresh perspective and start from the ground up to engineer the toehold switch, rather than merely rewiring existing natural parts.

Wyss Institute scientists discuss the collaborative environment and team effort that led to two breakthroughs in synthetic biology that can either stand alone as distinct advances – or combine forces to create truly tantalizing potentials in diagnostics and gene therapies. Credit: Harvard’s Wyss Institute

By combining forces, the two Wyss Institute teams showed that the toehold switch, so effective in living cells for its dynamic control of in vivo gene expression, is also fully capable of functioning in vitro on freeze–dried paper. With its impressive gene regulation functions able to be transported out of the lab for easy delivery of diagnostics and gene therapies, paper–based toehold switches promise a profound impact on human and environmental health.

"Whether used in vivo or in vitro, the ability to rationally design gene regulators opens many doors for increasingly complex synthetic biological circuits," Green said.

The Wyss Effect

Standing on their own, both paper–based synthetic gene networks and toehold switch gene regulators could each have revolutionary impacts on synthetic biology: the former brings synthetic biology out of the traditional confinement of a living cell, the latter provides a rational design framework to enable de–novo design of both the parts and the network of gene regulation. But combining the two technologies together could truly set the stage for powerful, multiplex biological circuits and sensors that can be quickly and inexpensively assembled for transport and use anywhere in the world.

"The level of idea sharing and collaboration that occurred to achieve these results is evidence of the teamwork that is the lifeblood of the Wyss," said Institute Founding Director Don Ingber, M.D., Ph.D., Professor of Vascular Biology at Harvard Medical School and Boston Children's Hospital, and Professor of Bioengineering at Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Science. "But we go beyond collaboration, to ensure that these great ideas are translated into useful technologies that can have transformative impact in the real world."


Images and video are available.

The Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University uses Nature's design principles to develop bioinspired materials and devices that will transform medicine and create a more sustainable world. Working as an alliance among all of Harvard's Schools, and in partnership with Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston Children's Hospital, Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Massachusetts General Hospital, the University of Massachusetts Medical School, Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, Boston University, Tufts University, and Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin, and the University of Zurich, the Institute crosses disciplinary and institutional barriers to engage in high-risk research that leads to transformative technological breakthroughs. By emulating Nature's principles for self-organizing and self-regulating, Wyss researchers are developing innovative new engineering solutions for healthcare, energy, architecture, robotics, and manufacturing. These technologies are translated into commercial products and therapies through collaborations with clinical investigators, corporate alliances, and new start-ups.

News Release Source :  Synthetic biology on ordinary paper, results off the page

194 Countries Urged to Regulate Synthetic Biology Now

Regulate Synthetic Biology Now: 194 Countries

SynBio industry’s wild west days are numbered


In a unanimous decision of 194 countries, the United Nation's Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) today formally urged nation states to regulate synthetic biology (SynBio), a new extreme form of genetic engineering. The landmark decision follows ten days of hard-fought negotiations between developing countries and a small group of wealthy biotech-friendly economies. Until now, synthetic organisms have been developed and commercialized without international regulations; increasing numbers of synthetically-derived products are making their way to market. The CBD’s decision is regarded as a "starting signal" for governments to begin establishing formal oversight for this exploding and controversial field.

[caption id="attachment_226" align="aligncenter" width="477"]194 Countries asked Regulate Synthetic Biology Now 194 Countries asked Regulate Synthetic Biology Now[/caption]

"Synthetic Biology has been like the wild west: a risky technology frontier with little oversight or regulation,” Jim Thomas of ETC Group explained from CBD negotiations in Korea. “At last the UN is laying down the law."

"This international decision is very clear,” Thomas added. “Not only do countries now have to set up the means to regulate synthetic biology, but those regulations need to be based on precaution and not harming the environment. The good news is that precaution won the day."

This decision comes at a critical time. The SynBio industry is bringing some of its first products to market, including a vanilla flavour produced by synthetically modified yeast and specialized oils used in soaps and detergents derived from synthetically modified algae. In December, bay area SynBio firm Glowing Plants Inc. intends to release synthetically-engineered glow-in-the-dark plants to 6,000 recipients without government oversight. The United States is not a signatory to the CBD, making it one of only three countries that will not be formally bound by this decision (the other 2 are Andorra and the Holy See).

Compared to conventional genetic engineering, synthetic biology poses serious risks to the environment, biodiversity and health as well as to the cultures and livelihoods of Indigenous peoples and local communities. Scientists warn that modified algae and yeast could have unpredictable effects if they escape. New applications could also disrupt the behaviour of plants, insects and potentially whole ecosystems. For example, dsRNA crop sprays[1] disrupt the action of genes, which may kill targeted pest, but will also affect other organisms in unpredictable ways by silencing genes.

"The multibillion-dollar SynBio industry has been slipping untested ingredients into food, cosmetics and soaps; they are even preparing to release synthetically modified organisms into the environment,” said Dana Perls of Friends of the Earth-U.S. “This decision is a clear signal that synthetic biology urgently needs to be assessed and regulated. “Governments need to step in to do that."

Many of the diplomats negotiating at the UN Convention had instructions to establish a complete moratorium on the release of synthetically modified organisms. However, they faced stiff opposition from a small group of wealthy countries with strong biotech industries, particularly Brazil, Canada, New Zealand, Australia and the UK.

After a week of negotiations, battle lines were drawn between the pro-SynBio states on one side and African, Asian, Caribbean and Latin American countries on the other side. Notable among the latter group were: Malaysia, Bolivia, Philippines, Saint Lucia Antigua, Ethiopia, Timor Leste and Egypt.

Global South representatives raised concerns that synthetic biology products intended to replace agricultural commodities could devastate their economies and degrade biodiversity. Many delegates were also concerned that synthetically modified organisms could create biosafety risks – e.g. the possibility of synthetic algae escaping into waterways, producing a solar-powered oil spill.

A network of international organizations including Friends of the Earth, ETC Group, Econexus and the Federation of German Scientists had been closely monitoring the negotiations and providing input for over 4 years. Civil society groups first raised the topic of synthetic biology at the CBD in 2010.

“It was good to see delegates of the South stand up for the interests of their farmers, peasants and biodiversity here in Pyeongchang," said Neth Dano, Asia Director of ETC Group. "This is not the moratorium many of us wanted, but it’s a good step in the right direction."

“Synthetic biology involves many novel, experimental, little understood techniques and outcomes, and this greatly increases the risks involved to the environment, human health, food security and livelihoods,” said Helena Paul of EcoNexus. “Our technical cleverness tends to blind us to our ignorance; the UK wishes to play a leading role in synthetic biology and does not seem to want precaution to stand in the way, so this COP decision is a helpful corrective to that dangerous policy.”

What’s in the CBD decision?

The CBD’s three-page decision outlines its recommendations for member countries’ approaches to synthetic biology. The CBD urges all member countries to:

  • Follow a precautionary approach to synthetic biology.

  • Set up systems to regulate the environmental release of any synthetic biology organisms or products. These regulations must ensure that activities in one country cannot harm the environment of another. (Article 3 of the CBD)

  • Ensure that no synthetic biology organisms are released for field trials without a process of formal prior risk assessment.

  • Submit synthetic biology organisms, components and products to scientific assessments that consider risks to conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity as well as human health, food security and socio-economic considerations.

  • Encourage research funds to assess the safety of synthetic biology as well the socio-economic impacts of the technology.

  • Support developing countries to develop their capacity to assess synthetic biology.

The decision also:

  • Establishes an ongoing process within the Convention on Biological Diversity, including an expert group which will establish a definition of synthetic biology and identify whether existing governance arrangements are adequate.

  • Invites other UN bodies to consider the issue of synthetic biology as it relates to their mandates.

Notes to Editors:

The full text of the decision agreed by COP 12 of the CBD is available here.

Synthetic biology covers a range of new genetic engineering techniques that either build from scratch or “edit” the genetic code of living organisms. It’s a rapidly expanding industry that re-engineers microbes and other organisms to produce industrially useful compounds. For more information about, visit


1. dsRNA stands for double stranded RNA. These molecules are a part of the finely tuned gene regulation of an organism. They will switch of specific genes, but their mode of action and interaction is not well understood.

News Release Source : Regulate Synthetic Biology Now: 194 Countries

Prof. James Collins to Receive The 2015 HFSP Nakasone Award

James Collins to receive the 2015 HFSP Nakasone Award

The 2015 HFSP Nakasone Award

The Human Frontier Science Program Organization (HFSPO) has announced that the 2015 HFSP Nakasone Award has been conferred upon James Collins of Boston University and Harvard's Wyss Institute for his innovative work on synthetic gene networks and programmable cells which launched the exciting field of synthetic biology.

[caption id="attachment_222" align="aligncenter" width="640"]James Collins to receive the 2015 HFSP Nakasone Award James Collins to receive the 2015 HFSP Nakasone Award[/caption]

The HFSP Nakasone Award was established to honour scientists who have made key breakthroughs in fields at the forefront of the life sciences. It recognizes the vision of former Prime Minister Nakasone of Japan in the creation of the Human Frontier Science Program. James Collins will present the HFSP Nakasone Lecture at the 15th annual meeting of HFSP awardees to be held in La Jolla, California, in July 2015.

James Collins was one of the first to show that one can engineer biological circuits out of proteins, genes and other bits of DNA. He designed and constructed a genetic toggle switch - a bistable gene circuit with broad implications for biomedicine and biotechnology. This work represents a landmark in the beginnings of synthetic biology. He showed that synthetic gene networks can be used as regulatory modules and interfaced with the cell's genetic circuitry to create programmable cells for biomedical and biotech applications. Along these lines, Collins has developed whole-cell biosensors to detect various stimuli (chemicals, pathogens, heavy metals, explosives), as well as synthetic probiotics to detect and treat infections (e.g., cholera). Collins has also designed and constructed RNA switches, genetic counters, programmable microbial kill switches, synthetic bacteriophages to combat bacterial infections, genetic switchboards for metabolic engineering, synthetic mRNA for stem cell reprogramming, and tunable mammalian genetic switches.

Collins' innovative work in synthetic biology is impacting the biosciences and the biotech industry in providing one of the key enabling technologies of the 21st century. His engineered gene circuits and synthetic biology technology have been utilized by multiple companies in diverse fields ranging from agriculture to drug discovery. His work has inspired scientists around the world and enabled multiple biomedical applications, including in vivo bio-sensing, antibiotic potentiation, biofilm eradication, drug target identification and validation, microbiome reengineering, and efficient stem cell reprogramming and differentiation. Collins' mammalian switch technology is being used by research groups worldwide and his programmable microbial kill switch was highlighted by President Obama's Bioethics Commission as a much-needed safeguard for real-world applications of synthetic biology.

The work of James Collins is advancing, if not defining, the emerging discipline of synthetic biology, and his path-blazing research on synthetic gene networks and programmable cells is transforming the life sciences and expanding our ability to study and harness complex mechanisms of living organisms.

The HFSP Nakasone Award was established in 2010. Previous recipients have been Karl Deisseroth (2010), Michael Elowitz (2011), Gina Turrigiano (2012), Stephen Quake (2013), and Uri Alon (2014).

The Human Frontier Science Program Organization was founded in 1989 to support international research and training at the frontier of the life sciences. It is supported by contributions from the G7 nations, together with Switzerland, Australia, India, New Zealand, Norway, Singapore, Republic of Korea and the European Union. With its collaborative research grants and postdoctoral fellowship programs, the program has approved over 4000 awards involving more than 6600 scientists from all over the world during the 25 years of its existence. The HFSPO supports research at the interface between life sciences and the natural sciences and engineering and places special emphasis on creating opportunities for young scientists.

News Release SourceJames Collins to receive the 2015 HFSP Nakasone Award

For more detail of the award :

More information on Prof. James Collins and his work is available

at (Boston University) and

at (Wyss Institute).

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Fully Functional Organ from Scratch in a Living Animal by Transplanting Cells

Fully functional immune organ grown in mice from lab-created cells

Scientists have for the first time grown a complex, fully functional organ from scratch in a living animal by transplanting cells that were originally created in a laboratory. The advance could in future aid the development of ‘lab-grown’ replacement organs.

[caption id="attachment_211" align="aligncenter" width="550"]Fully Functional Organ from Scratch in a Living Animal by Transplanting Cells Fully Functional Organ from Scratch in a Living Animal by Transplanting Cells[/caption]

Fibroblasts transformed into induced thymic epithelial cells (iTEC) in vitro (left, iTEC in green). iTEC transplanted onto the mouse kidney form an organised and functional mini-thymus (right, kidney cells in pink, thymus cells in dark blue)

Researchers from the MRC Centre for Regenerative Medicine, at the University of Edinburgh, took cells called fibroblasts from a mouse embryo and converted them directly into a completely unrelated type of cell - specialised thymus cells- using a technique called ‘reprogramming’. When mixed with other thymus cell types and transplanted into mice, these cells formed a replacement organ that had the same structure, complexity and function as a healthy native adult thymus. The reprogrammed cells were also capable of producing T cells - a type of white blood cell important for fighting infection - in the lab.

The researchers hope that with further refinement their lab-made cells could form the basis of a readily available thymus transplant treatment for people with a weakened immune system. They may also enable the production of patient-matched T cells. The research is published today in the journal Nature Cell Biology.

The thymus, located near the heart, is a vital organ of the immune system. It produces T cells, which guard against disease by scanning the body for malfunctioning cells and infections. When they detect a problem, they mount a coordinated immune response that tries to eliminate harmful cells, such as cancer, or pathogens like bacteria and viruses.

People without a fully functioning thymus can’t make enough T cells and as a result are very vulnerable to infections. This can be a particular problem for some patients who need a bone marrow transplant (for example to treat leukaemia), as a functioning thymus is needed to rebuild the immune system once the transplant has been received. The problem can also affect children; around one in 4,000 babies born each year in the UK have a malfunctioning or completely absent thymus (due to conditions such as DiGeorge syndrome).

Thymus disorders can sometimes be treated with infusions of extra immune cells, or transplantation of a thymus organ soon after birth, but both are limited by a lack of donors and problems matching tissue to the recipient.

Being able to create a complete transplantable thymus from cells in a lab would be a huge step forward in treating such conditions. And while several studies have shown it is possible to produce collections of distinct cell types in a dish, such as heart or liver cells, scientists haven’t yet been able to grow a fully intact organ from cells created outside the body.

Professor Clare Blackburn from the MRC Centre for Regenerative Medicine at the University of Edinburgh, who led the research, said:

“The ability to grow replacement organs from cells in the lab is one of the ‘holy grails’ in regenerative medicine. But the size and complexity of lab-grown organs has so far been limited. By directly reprogramming cells we’ve managed to produce an artificial cell type that, when transplanted, can form a fully organised and functional organ. This is an important first step towards the goal of generating a clinically useful artificial thymus in the lab.”

The researchers carried out their study using cells (fibroblasts) taken from mouse embryos. By increasing levels of a protein called FOXN1, which guides development of the thymus during normal organ development in the embryo, they were able to directly reprogramme these cells to become a type of thymus cell called thymic epithelial cells. These are the cells that provide the specialist functions of the thymus, enabling it to make T cells.

The induced thymic epithelial cells (or iTEC) were then combined with other thymus cells (to support their development) and grafted onto the kidneys of genetically identical mice. After four weeks, the cells had produced well-formed organs with the same structure as a healthy thymus, with clearly defined regions (known as the cortex and medulla). The iTEC cells were also able to produce different types of T cells from immature blood cells in the lab.

Dr Rob Buckle, Head of Regenerative Medicine at the MRC, said:

“Growing ‘replacement parts’ for damaged tissue could remove the need to transplant whole organs from one person to another, which has many drawbacks – not least a critical lack of donors. This research is an exciting early step towards that goal, and a convincing demonstration of the potential power of direct reprogramming technology, by which once cell type is converted to another. However, much more work will be needed before this process can be reproduced in the lab environment, and in a safe and tightly controlled way suitable for use in humans.”

The study was funded by Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research, Darwin Trust of Edinburgh, the MRC and the European Union Seventh Framework Programme.

News Release Source : Fully functional immune organ grown in mice from lab-created cells

Successfully Established a Three-Dimensional Culture Model of the Developing Brain


August 28, 2013

Complex human brain tissue has been successfully developed in a three-dimensional culture system established in an Austrian laboratory. The method described in the current issue of NATURE allows pluripotent stem cells to develop into cerebral organoids – or "mini brains" – that consist of several discrete brain regions. Instead of using so-called patterning growth factors to achieve this, scientists at the renowned Institute of Molecular Biotechnology (IMBA) of the Austrian Academy of Sciences (OeAW) fine-tuned growth conditions and provided a conducive environment. As a result, intrinsic cues from the stem cells guided the development towards different interdependent brain tissues. Using the "mini brains", the scientists were also able to model the development of a human neuronal disorder and identify its origin – opening up routes to long hoped-for model systems of the human brain.

[caption id="attachment_206" align="aligncenter" width="500"]Successfully Established a Three-Dimensional Culture Model of the Developing Brain Successfully Established a Three-Dimensional Culture                                            Model of the Developing Brain[/caption]

The development of the human brain remains one of the greatest mysteries in biology. Derived from a simple tissue, it develops into the most complex natural structure known to man. Studies of the human brain’s development and associated human disorders are extremely difficult, as no scientist has thus far successfully established a three-dimensional culture model of the developing brain as a whole. Now, a research group lead by Dr. Jürgen Knoblich at the Institute of Molecular Biotechnology of the Austrian Academy of Sciences (IMBA) has changed just that.

Brain Size Matters

Starting with established human embryonic stem cell lines and induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells, the group identified growth conditions that aided the differentiation of the stem cells into several brain tissues. While using media for neuronal induction and differentiation, the group was able to avoid the use of patterning growth factor conditions, which are usually applied in order to generate specific cell identities from stem cells. Dr. Knoblich explains the new method: "We modified an established approach to generate so-called neuroectoderm, a cell layer from which the nervous system derives. Fragments of this tissue were then maintained in a 3D-culture and embedded in droplets of a specific gel that provided a scaffold for complex tissue growth. In order to enhance nutrient absorption, we later transferred the gel droplets to a spinning bioreactor. Within three to four weeks defined brain regions were formed."

Already after 15 – 20 days, so-called "cerebral organoids" formed which consisted of continuous tissue (neuroepithelia) surrounding a fluid-filled cavity that was reminiscent of a cerebral ventricle. After 20 – 30 days, defined brain regions, including a cerebral cortex, retina, meninges as well as choroid plexus, developed. After two months, the mini brains reached a maximum size, but they could survive indefinitely (currently up to 10 months) in the spinning bioreactor. Further growth, however, was not achieved, most likely due to the lack of a circulation system and hence a lack of nutrients and oxygen at the core of the mini brains.

Microcephaly in Mini Brains

The new method also offers great potential for establishing model systems for human brain disorders. Such models are urgently needed, as the commonly used animal models are of considerably lower complexity, and often do not adequately recapitulate the human disease. Knoblich’s group has now demonstrated that the mini brains offer great potential as a human model system by analysing the onset of microcephaly, a human genetic disorder in which brain size is significantly reduced. By generating iPS cells from skin tissue of a microcephaly patient, the scientists were able to grow mini brains affected by this disorder. As expected, the patient derived organoids grew to a lesser size. Further analysis led to a surprising finding: while the neuroepithilial tissue was smaller than in mini brains unaffected by the disorder, increased neuronal outgrowth could be observed. This lead to the hypothesis that, during brain development of patients with microcephaly, the neural differentiation happens prematurely at the expense of stem and progenitor cells which would otherwise contribute to a more pronounced growth in brain size. Further experiments also revealed that a change in the direction in which the stem cells divide might be causal for the disorder.

"In addition to the potential for new insights into the development of human brain disorders, mini brains will also be of great interest to the pharmaceutical and chemical industry," explains Dr. Madeline A. Lancaster, team member and first author of the publication. "They allow for the testing of therapies against brain defects and other neuronal disorders. Furthermore, they will enable the analysis of the effects that specific chemicals have on brain development."

 Original publication Nature: M. A. Lancaster, M. Renner, C.-A. Martin, D. Wenzel, L. S. Bicknell, M. E. Hurles, T. Homfray, J. S. Penninger, A. P. Jackson & J. A. Knoblich. Cerebral organoids derived from pluripotent stem cells model human brain development and microcephaly. doi: 10.1038/nature12517

News Release Source :  BRAINS ON DEMAND

Monday, June 9, 2014

Ecological Risk Research Agenda for Synthetic Biology

An Ecological Risk Research Agenda for Synthetic Biology

Report Developed by the Ecological Community Highlights Priority Research Areas

WASHINGTONMay 29, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Environmental scientists and synthetic biologists have for the first time developed a set of key research areas to study the potential ecological impacts of synthetic biology, a field that could push beyond incremental changes to create organisms that transcend common evolutionary pathways.

[caption id="attachment_200" align="alignleft" width="600"]Ecological Risk Research Agenda for Synthetic Biology Ecological Risk Research Agenda for Synthetic Biology[/caption]

The Synthetic Biology Project at the Wilson Center and the Program on Emerging Technologies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology convened the interdisciplinary group of scientists and are releasing the report, Creating a Research Agenda for the Ecological Implications of Synthetic Biology. The work was funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF).

"We hope this report raises awareness about the lack of research into these ecological issues," says Dr. James Collins, Ullman Professor of Natural History and the Environment at Arizona State University and former Director of the Population Biology and Physiological Ecology Program and Assistant Director of Biological Sciences at NSF. "We involved experts in the ecological research and synthetic biology communities to help identify priority research areas – and we believe the report can be a roadmap to guide the necessary work. The rapid pace of research and commercialization in the field of synthetic biology makes it important to begin this work now."

The report prioritizes key research areas for government agencies, academia and industry to fund. Research areas include species for comparative research; phenotypic characterization; fitness, genome stability and lateral gene transfer; control of organismal traits; monitoring and surveillance; modeling and standardization of methods and data.

In developing the report, various applications were used to stimulate discussion among synthetic biologists, ecologists, environmental scientists and social scientists, as well as representatives from government, the private sector, academia, environmental organizations and think tanks. Applications considered in the process included bio-mining; nitrogen fixation by engineered crops; gene drive propagation in populations of invasive species; and engineered seeds and plants destined for distribution to the public.

The report says it is necessary to establish and sustain interdisciplinary research groups in order to conduct the research. Long-term support is also needed to address complex questions about how synthetic biology could impact the environment and overcome communication barriers across disciplines, the report says.

The report can be downloaded from the Synthetic Biology Project website:

About the Synthetic Biology Project
The Synthetic Biology Project is an initiative of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars supported by a grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. The Project aims to foster informed public and policy discourse concerning the advancement of synthetic biology. For more information, visit:

About the MIT Program on Emerging Technologies
The Center for International Studies (CIS) aims to support and promote international research and education at MIT. The CIS Program on Emerging Technologies (PoET) seeks to improve responses to implications of emerging technologies. PoET was created with support of an NSF IGERT. Research has included retrospective studies on past emerging technologies led byMerritt Roe SmithLarry McCray and Daniel Hastings, as well as prospective studies on next-generation internet (led by David D. Clark) and synthetic biology (led by Kenneth A. Oye). For more information, visit:

About The Wilson Center
The Wilson Center provides a strictly nonpartisan space for the worlds of policymaking and scholarship to interact. By conducting relevant and timely research and promoting dialogue from all perspectives, it works to address the critical current and emerging challenges confronting the United States and the world. For more information, visit:

 SOURCE Synthetic Biology Project

News Release Source :  An Ecological Risk Research Agenda for Synthetic Biology

Challenges and Options for Oversight of Organisms Engineered Using Synthetic Biology

Venter Institute-Led Policy Group Publishes Report on Challenges and Options for Oversight of Organisms Engineered Using Synthetic Biology Technologies

ROCKVILLE, Md. and SAN DIEGOMay 28, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Policy researchers from the J. Craig Venter Institute (JCVI), the University of Virginia, and EMBO today released a report detailing the challenges faced by regulators with the increased use of more sophisticated synthetic biology technologies to engineer plants and microbes and some options for dealing with these challenges.

[caption id="attachment_196" align="alignleft" width="300"]Challenges and Options for Oversight of Organisms Engineered Using Synthetic Biology Challenges and Options for Oversight of Organisms Engineered Using Synthetic Biology[/caption]

The authors conclude that while the United States governmental agencies tasked with oversight of products derived through synthetic biology have adequate legal jurisdiction to address most, but not all, environmental, health and safety concerns, several key issues could challenge these agencies including: the advent of newer plant engineering technologies that are outside the authority of some agencies, and increased use of more complex engineered microbes that could overwhelm regulators both from a science and safety review and increasing cost perspective.

Genetic engineering to make relatively minor manipulations of small numbers of genes in plants, microbes, and animals has been utilized in science and biotechnology to develop products since the 1980s. Three agencies are tasked with oversight of genetically engineered organisms—the US Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Through the years these agencies have successfully reviewed products for potential environmental, health and safety concerns, and have also issued regulations and industry guidelines.

Over the last five years breakthroughs and advances in the new field of synthetic biology—the newest generation of genetic engineering—are enabling construction and synthesis of whole genes and genomes opening even more new avenues for product development in many industries including new food and nutritional products, vaccines and pharmaceuticals, and biofuels.

With these advances in mind, the JCVI led team examined how well APHIS, EPA, and FDA will be able to review the potential rapid increase of new plants and microbes developed using synthetic biology. They found areas of concern and offered the following options for oversight.

Genetically Engineered Plants
APHIS has reviewed engineered plants for the past 25 years. This authority is based on genetic engineering technology that uses plant pests or some component of plant pests. Synthetic biology is accelerating development and use of new genetically engineered plants that fall outside APHIS' purview and thus without regulatory review before potential use in the environment.  The authors outline the following options:

  1. Maintain existing regulatory system and rely on a voluntary approach for those genetically engineered plants not subject to review.

  2. Identify the most likely risks from newer plant biotechnology and apply existing laws that would best mitigate them.

  3. Give APHIS additional authority to review and regulate genetically engineered plants.

  4. Distribute rules under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) or the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) for EPA to regulate engineered plants.

Genetically Engineered Microbes
Synthetic biology is enabling a larger number of increasingly more complex engineered microbes for commercial use, particularly those intended for use in the open environment. This influx may overwhelm the EPA's Biotechnology Program both from an expertise and funding perspective. The policy team outlined the following options for consideration to help alleviate any regulatory delays or deficiencies for microbial products:

  1. If and when needed, provide additional funding for EPA's Biotechnology Program under TSCA and pursue efficiency measures to expedite reviews.

  2. Amend TSCA to strengthen EPA's ability to regulate engineered microbes.

"Synthetic biology offers great promise for a new and improved generation of genetically engineered microbes, plants, and animals," said Robert Friedman, Ph.D., JCVI's Vice President for Policy.  "To achieve this promise, the public must be assured that the U.S. regulatory agencies are able to review these products as effectively as they have over the past two decades.  Our report identifies several issues and options for policymakers to update the current U.S, regulatory system for biotechnology."

The report is funded by the United States Department of Energy Office of Biological and Environmental Research with additional support from the Sloan Foundation. Authors of the report are: Sarah R. Carter, Ph.D., JCVI; Michael Rodemeyer, J.D.,University of VirginiaMichele S. Garfinkel, Ph.D., EMBO, GermanyRobert M. Friedman, Ph.D., JCVI. The full report can be downloaded here:

About the J. Craig Venter Institute (JCVI)
The JCVI is a not-for-profit research institute in Rockville, MD and San Diego, CA dedicated to the advancement of the science of genomics; the understanding of its implications for society; and communication of those results to the scientific community, the public, and policymakers. Founded by J. Craig Venter, Ph.D., the JCVI is home to approximately 250 scientists and staff with expertise in human and evolutionary biology, genetics, bioinformatics/informatics, information technology, high-throughput DNA sequencing, genomic and environmental policy research, and public education in science and science policy. The legacy organizations of the JCVI are: The Institute for Genomic Research (TIGR), The Center for the Advancement of Genomics (TCAG), the Institute for Biological Energy Alternatives (IBEA), the Joint Technology Center (JTC), and the J. Craig Venter Science Foundation. The JCVI is a 501 (c)(3) organization. For additional information, please visit

 SOURCE J. Craig Venter Institute

News Release Source :  Venter Institute-Led Policy Group Publishes Report on Challenges and Options for Oversight of Organisms Engineered Using Synthetic Biology Technologies

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Synthetic Biology Market is Expected to Reach $38.7 Billion, Globally, by 2020

Synthetic Biology Market is Expected to Reach $38.7 Billion, Globally, by 2020 - Allied Market Research

PORTLAND, OregonMay 27, 2014 /PRNewswire/ --

According to a new report by Allied Market Research, titled "Global Synthetic Biology Market (Products, Technologies, Applications and Geography) - Global Opportunity Analysis and Forecast - 2013 - 2020", the global synthetic biology market is forecast to reach $38.7 billion by 2020, at a CAGR of 44.2% during the forecast period (2014 - 2020). Europe occupies largest share in the global market and would hold-on to its position throughout 2020. However, Asia Pacific is the fastest growing market with a CAGR of 46.4% from 2014 - 2020.

[caption id="attachment_191" align="aligncenter" width="665"]Synthetic Biology Market is Expected to Reach $38.7 Billion, Globally, by 2020 Synthetic Biology Market is Expected to Reach $38.7 Billion, Globally, by 2020[/caption]

Synthetic biology is at a nascent stage and has recently entered the commercial market. Many technologies that utilize synthetic biology are yet to be commercialized, and are waiting for approvals from the respective regional regulatory bodies. However, this market is expected to witness adoption in varied domains, with chemicals, pharmaceuticals, energy and agriculture, as some major application markets. Key factors fueling the growth of this market include assistance from government and private organizations, rising number of entities conducting research and declining cost of DNA sequencing and synthesizing. Bio-safety & bio-security and ethical issues are key restraining factors of the market. The fact that synthetic biology can be misused has raised concerns all around the world. However, as far as the market dynamics are considered, the bottom line is that the overall impact of these factors would be highly positive.

To view the complete report, visit the website at

Global synthetic biology market is segmented based on product, technology, application, and geography. Synthetic biology product market is further segmented into enabling products, enabled products and core products. Enabling product is the fastest growing segment in the product market due to ongoing researches that may bring-innovative ideas for application of synthetic biology in new fields. Thus, the need for enabling products, during R&D activities and in the development of enabled products, would rise.

DNA synthesis is the largest segment within enabling products segment, whereas oligonucleotide synthesis is expected to be fastest growing market at 57.8% CAGR during 2014 and 2020. Chassis organism would be the fastest growing core product during the forecast period with synthetic DNA occupying largest market share. Other core products included in the study are synthetic genes, synthetic sells, and XNA. Biofuels, within enabled product segment, is expected to exhibit tremendous growth; registering a CAGR of 110.1% during forecast period. However, synthetic biology-based pharmaceuticals and diagnostics products will generate largest amount of revenue within enabled product segment followed by agriculture and chemicals sub-segments.

Similar market research reports by Allied Market Research -

Global Stem Cell Umbilical Cord Blood (UCB) Market -

Global Endocrine Testing Market -

Global C- Reactive Protein Testing Market -

Global Forensic Technologies Market -

Synthetic biology technology market is segmented into enabling technology and enabled technology. Enabling technologies segment is growing speedily, with a CAGR of 48.6% during the forecast period. The market by application includes research & development, chemicals, agriculture, pharmaceuticals & diagnostics, biofuels and others. Biofuels is the fastest growing segment during the forecast period. In terms of geography, Europe is the largest revenue-generating segment, whereas Asia Pacific would experience the highest growth rate during the forecast period.

Browse all diagnostics and Biotech market report at

Competitive analysis of the companies reveals that most of the companies are concentrating on agreements followed by product launch for the expansion of their business. Synthetic biology is a novel technology and the value chain of a product manufacturing includes steps that require collaborative efforts by two or more companies. This is the key reason for agreements among the companies. Most of the agreements were related to the development of products for chemical industries, followed by biofuels and synthetic genes industries. Product launch holds second highest share in strategies adopted by key players accounting for about 32% of the strategic moves by key companies. Companies profiled in the report include BASF, GEN9 Inc., Algenol Biofuels, Codexis Inc., Gensript Corporation, Dupont, Butamax Advanced Biofuels, BioAmber, BioSearch Technologies, Inc., Origene Technologies, Inc. and Synthetic Genomics, Inc.

Market Segments Covered

Synthetic Biology Market by Products

Enabling Products

DNA Synthesis

Oligonucleotide Synthesis

Enabled Products





Core Products

Synthetic DNA

Synthetic Genes

Synthetic Cells


Chassis Organisms

Synthetic Biology Market by Technology

Enabling Technology

Genome Engineering

Microfluidics technologies

DNA synthesis & sequencing technologies

Bioinformatics technologies

Biological components and integrated systems technologies

Enabled Technology

Pathway engineering

Synthetic microbial consortia

Biofuels technologies

Synthetic Biology Market by Application

Research & Development



Pharmaceuticals & Diagnostics


Others (Environment, Biotechnology & Biomaterials, etc.)

Synthetic Biology Market by Geography

North America


Asia Pacific


About Us:

Allied Market Research (AMR) is a full-service market research and business consulting wing of Allied Analytics LLP based inPortland, Oregon. Allied Market Research provides global enterprises as well as medium and small businesses with unmatched quality of "Market Research Reports" and "Business Intelligence Solutions". AMR has a targeted view to provide business insights and consulting to assist its clients to make strategic business decisions and achieve sustainable growth in their respective market domain.

We are in professional corporate relations with various companies and this helps us in capturing most accurate market data and confirms utmost accuracy of our market forecasts. Each and every data presented in the reports published by us is also extracted through primary interviews with top officials from leading companies of domain concerned. Our secondary data procurement methodology includes deep online and offline research and discussion with knowledgeable professionals and analysts in the industry.

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SOURCE Allied Market Research

News Release Source :  Synthetic Biology Market is Expected to Reach $38.7 Billion, Globally, by 2020 - Allied Market Research

Synthetic Biology Still in Uncharted Waters of Public Opinion

Synthetic biology still in uncharted waters of public opinion

Focus group concerns centered on specific applications of the technology

The Synthetic Biology Project at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars is releasing the results of a new set of focus groups, which find continued low awareness of synthetic biology among the general public.

The focus groups also sought opinions on the emerging field of neural engineering.

The focus group results support the findings of a quantitative national poll conducted by Hart Research Associates in January 2013, which found just 23 percent of respondents reported they had heard a lot (6 percent) or some (17 percent) about synthetic biology.

The focus group discussions also reinforce earlier findings that specific applications impact people's hopes and anxieties around synthetic biology. For example, medical applications including disease cures gained the most support in the focus groups, while the biological production of chemicals and food additives received little to no support.

Participants focused their concern on unforeseen, unintended consequences that might occur from synthetic biology. There was a clear and strong desire to study and monitor the potential risks of synthetic biology, which may require a variety of organizations.

For the first time, the focus groups also sought opinions on neural engineering – an area of science that uses engineering and brain science to build devices to support brain control of prosthetic or robotic devices in humans. In contrast to synthetic biology, participants in these sessions found few downsides to neural engineering applications that could help people with motor disabilities or who have lost a limb.

To the extent unease surfaced about neural engineering, participants were concerned about inequitable access to the technologies. There was little concern about the adverse consequences of neural engineering beyond the individual patient, unlike applications of synthetic biology, which participants feared could have much broader implications for society and the environment.

Because this is qualitative research among only a small number of individuals, the findings from these two focus groups cannot be generalized to represent the entire population of adults in the United States. Rather, these qualitative findings provide context for evaluating the 2013 survey findings and depth of understanding about how these audiences respond to these areas of science and their potential applications.


The focus groups were conducted in Maryland in April 2014. The full report and video clips from the focus groups, as well as the 2013 survey report, can be found here:

About the Synthetic Biology Project

The Synthetic Biology Project is an initiative of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars supported by a grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. The Project aims to foster informed public and policy discourse concerning the advancement of synthetic biology. For more information, visit:

About The Wilson Center

The Wilson Center provides a strictly nonpartisan space for the worlds of policymaking and scholarship to interact. By conducting relevant and timely research and promoting dialogue from all perspectives, it works to address the critical current and emerging challenges confronting the United States and the world. For more information, visit:

News Release Source :  Synthetic biology still in uncharted waters of public opinion

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Scientists Use DNA Origami to Create 2-D Structures

Nano-Platform Ready: Scientists Use DNA Origami to Create 2-D Structures

June 2, 2014

Scientists at New York University and the University of Melbourne have developed a method using DNA origami to turn one-dimensional nano materials into two dimensions. Their breakthrough, published in the latest issue of the journal Nature Nanotechnology, offers the potential to enhance fiber optics and electronic devices by reducing their size and increasing their speed.

[caption id="attachment_183" align="alignleft" width="500"]Scientists Use DNA Origami to Create 2-D Structures Scientists Use DNA Origami to Create 2-D Structures[/caption]

"We can now take linear nano-materials and direct how they are organized in two dimensions, using a DNA origami platform to create any number of shapes," explains NYU Chemistry Professor Nadrian Seeman, the paper's senior author, who founded and developed the field of DNA nanotechnology, now pursued by laboratories around the globe, three decades ago.

Seeman's collaborator, Sally Gras, an associate professor at the University of Melbourne, says, "We brought together two of life's building blocks, DNA and protein, in an exciting new way. We are growing protein fibers within a DNA origami structure."

DNA origami employs approximately two hundred short DNA strands to direct longer strands in forming specific shapes. In their work, the scientists sought to create, and then manipulate the shape of, amyloid fibrils—rods of aggregated proteins, or peptides, that match the strength of spider's silk.

To do so, they engineered a collection of 20 DNA double helices to form a nanotube big enough (15 to 20 nanometers—just over one-billionth of a meter—in diameter) to house the fibrils.

The platform builds the fibrils by combining the properties of the nanotube with a synthetic peptide fragment that is placed inside the cylinder. The resulting fibril-filled nanotubes can then be organized into two-dimensional structures through a series of DNA-DNA hybridization interactions.

"Fibrils are remarkably strong and, as such, are a good barometer for this method's ability to form two-dimensional structures," observes Seeman. "If we can manipulate the orientations of fibrils, we can do the same with other linear materials in the future."

Seeman points to the promise of creating two-dimensional shapes on the nanoscale.

"If we can make smaller and stronger materials in electronics and photonics, we have the potential to improve consumer products," Seeman says. "For instance, when components are smaller, it means the signals they transmit don't need to go as far, which increases their operating speed. That's why small is so exciting—you can make better structures on the tiniest chemical scales."

Other NYU researchers included Anuttara Udomprasert, Ruojie Sha, Tong Wang, Paramjit Arora, and James W. Canary.

The research was supported by grants from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences, part of the National Institutes of Health (GM-29554), the National Science Foundation (CMMI-1120890, CCF-1117210), the Army Research Office (MURI W911NF-11-1-0024), the Office of Naval Research (N000141110729, N000140911118), an Australian Nanotechnology Network Overseas Travel Fellowship, a Melbourne Abroad Travelling Scholarship, the Bio21 Institute and Particulate Fluids Processing Centre. The work was carried out, in part, at the Center for Functional Nanomaterials, Brookhaven National Laboratory, which is supported by the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Basic Energy Sciences.

News Release Source :  Nano-Platform Ready: Scientists Use DNA Origami to Create 2-D Structures

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

OpenPlant Get £12 Million Funding for Synthetic Biology

Cambridge and Norwich win major boost for synthetic biology

Plant scientists at Cambridge and Norwich have been awarded £12 million funding for a new UK synthetic biology centre – OpenPlant.

Inspired by the way open source data has stimulated innovation in computing, OpenPlant will create a climate of openness in synthetic biology, helping young researchers and entrepreneurs develop and share new tools and libraries of plant DNA.

[caption id="attachment_178" align="aligncenter" width="500"]OpenPlant Get £12 Million Funding for Synthetic Biology OpenPlant Get £12 Million Funding for Synthetic Biology[/caption]

OpenPlant is a collaboration between the University of Cambridge and the John Innes Centre on Norwich Research Park. The funding will be shared equally between the two institutions. It is one of three new UK centres for synthetic biology announced today by science minister David Willetts. Over the next five years the three centres will receive more than £40 million in funding from the BBSRC and EPSRC.

Sitting at the boundary between sciences, synthetic biology uses engineering principles – including standardisation and modularisation – to make new biological parts and systems. Using knowledge about the biological properties of plants and microbes, synthetic biology can improve their use as factories, food and fuel. As well as helping improve crops across the world, synthetic biology could be used to develop new medicines, chemicals and green energy sources.

Minister for Universities and Science David Willetts, said: "Synthetic biology is one of the most promising areas of modern science, which is why we have identified it as one of the eight great British technologies of the future. Synthetic biology has the potential to drive economic growth but still remains relatively untapped and these new centres will ensure that the UK is at the forefront when it comes to commercialising these new technologies."

While US researchers are at the cutting edge of synthetic biology in microbes, the UK has the edge in plants. To fulfil its potential, however, researchers and small companies need greater freedom to operate, freedom that in key areas of computing has driven innovation, and created new jobs, software and products.

According to Dr Jim Haseloff of the University of Cambridge: "The field needs a new two-tier system for intellectual property so that new tools including DNA components are freely shared, while investment in applications can be protected."

"This will enable greater participation in innovation for sustainable agriculture and innovation."

Dr Nicola Patron, Head of Synthetic Biology at The Sainsbury Laboratory, another key partner organisation in Norwich, said: "Current intellectual property practices threaten to stifle innovation in plant technology. By creating DNA resources and tools that are free to use, OpenPlant will foster the kind of innovation seen at the emergence of other new technologies such as microelectronics and computer software."

OpenPlant unites two leaders in the field. The University of Cambridge has played an important role in many key scientific discoveries in biology, from the structure of the double helix to next generation DNA sequencing. The John Innes Centre is a world-leader in plant and microbial research that benefits farmers, the environment, humans and economies worldwide. Scientific discoveries about synthetic DNA systems will feed future innovation by researchers at both institutions.

JIC scientists have also pioneered innovative engagement between scientists and the public such as through the Science, Art and Writing (SAW) initiative. Social scientists on the OpenPlant project will help map feasible technical approaches to challenges, such finding a less energy-intensive alternative to nitrogen fertilisers, considering the economic and social implications for different scenarios.

Case studies

Medicinal plants

Scientists at the John Innes Centre will discover how Chinese medicinal plants such as the coneflower create natural colours and compounds with beneficial effects. The discoveries can be applied to refine their properties and scale up production. Photo of coneflower available.

Plants as factories

A new system for producing useful compounds in plants, such as proteins to make vaccines, is currently used by over 200 academic institutions around the world. The technology developed at the John Innes Centre is licensed to commercial organisations, including Canadian company Medicago, who have used it develop a vaccine against swine flu. Photo available of plant being inoculated with a protein.

Advanced photosynthesis

Crops use photosynthesis to convert sunlight and water into carbohydrates and the way they do this divides them into either C3 or C4 plants. C4 plants are around 50% more efficient than C3 plants but major crops such as rice are C3. By discovering how C4 photosynthesis works and how it evolved, it might be possible one day to engineer a major change to crop productivity. Microscope images available.

A simple test bed for engineering

The liverwort, Marchantia polymorpha, is a descendant of the earliest terrestrial plants. Its small size, rapid growth, simple architecture and genome make the plant a powerful new model for Synthetic Biology. OpenPlant scientists will use the system to develop new DNA circuits and tools to visualise and engineer new forms of plant growth. (See Pic available of liverwort.

News Release Source :   Cambridge and Norwich Win Major Boost for Synthetic Biology