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Recognizing and engineering digital-like logic gates and switches in gene regulatory networks

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)74–82
Number of pages9
JournalCurrent Opinion in Microbiology
Volume33
Early online date19 Jul 2016
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2016

Abstract

A central aim of synthetic biology is to build organisms that can perform useful activities in response to specified conditions. The digital computing paradigm which has proved so successful in electrical engineering is being mapped to synthetic biological systems to allow them to make such decisions. However, stochastic molecular processes have graded input-output functions, thus, bioengineers must select those with desirable characteristics and refine their transfer functions to build logic gates with digital-like switching behaviour. Recent efforts in genome mining and the development of programmable RNA- based switches, especially CRISPRi, have greatly increased the number of parts available to synthetic biologists. Improvements to the digital characteristics of these parts are required to enable robust predictable design of deeply layered logic circuits.

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