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Smart DNA Fabrication Using Sound Waves: Applying Acoustic Dispensing Technologies to Synthetic Biology

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Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Laboratory Automation
Publication statusPublished - 10 Jul 2015


Acoustic droplet ejection (ADE) technology uses focused acoustic energy to transfer nanoliter-scale liquid droplets with high precision and accuracy. This noncontact, tipless, low-volume dispensing technology minimizes the possibility of cross-contamination and potentially reduces the costs of reagents and consumables. To date, acoustic dispensers have mainly been used in screening libraries of compounds. In this paper, we describe the first application of this powerful technology to the rapidly developing field of synthetic biology, for DNA synthesis and assembly at the nanoliter scale using a Labcyte Echo 550 acoustic dispenser. We were able to successfully downscale PCRs and the popular one-pot DNA assembly methods, Golden Gate and Gibson assemblies, from the microliter to the nanoliter scale with high assembly efficiency, which effectively cut the reagent cost by 20- to 100-fold. We envision that acoustic dispensing will become an instrumental technology in synthetic biology, in particular in the era of DNA foundries.

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