Thursday, February 12, 2009

A Primer for Synthetic Biology (PDF text Format)

Professor Scott Mohr over at Boston University has created a primer for those that would like to learn Synthetic Biology! If any of you want to turn this into a Podcast I'll give you an A+ :)

“Synthetic biology,” in the modern sense, means using engineering principles to create functional systems based on the molecular machines and regulatory circuits of living organisms. However, it also includes going beyond them to develop radically new systems. At the very least, synthetic biology represents a merger of molecular biology, genetic engineering and computer science1 – and given the scale of the components that it works with, it also qualifies as a form of nanotechnology."

"Students and others who wish to learn about or – better still – to do synthetic biology often approach this exciting field with only some of the background necessary to grasp its essentials. This threepart primer represents an effort to assist them in filling gaps in their knowledge. Part I, “Molecular Biology for Novices,” summarizes the key aspects of biochemistry and molecular biology that bear on synthetic biology. Part II, “Engineering for Biologists,” introduces some basic engineering principles and the most important tools used in synthetic biology. Part III, “Ethics for Everyone,” briefly outlines the key ethical issues facing synthetic biology today.


Thank the author! Send him an email:

OUTLINE - Primer for Synthetic Biology (7/18/07)
PART I. Molecular Biology for Novices

1. Cells3
2. Small biomolecules and metabolism
3. Biological macromolecules
4. Protein functions
5. Amino acids
6. Peptide bonds
7. Protein primary (1°) structure
8. Three-dimensional (3D) structure of proteins
9. Encoded information generates structure
10. Nucleic acid (RNA and DNA) primary structure
11. The double helix
12. RNA – the urbiomolecule
13. Polysaccharides – Structure and Information
14. The central dogma
15. Protein synthesis
16. The genetic code
17. Regulation of small-molecule metabolism (the metabolome)
18. Protein control of gene expression
19. The lac operon
20. Regulation of gene expression by RNA
21. Gene regulation by DNA packaging
22. Epigenetic control
23. Summary

PART II – Engineering for Biologists
1. Engineering basics
2. Restriction enzymes
3. Plasmids
4. Recombinant DNA technology
5. Protein engineering
6. Genetic circuits
7. Metabolic engineering
8. Intercellular communication
9. Multicellular systems
10. Engineering biology
11. Abstraction hierarchy
12. Standardization

PART III – Ethics for Everyone

1. The Meaning of Ethics
2. Origins of Ethics
3. Ethics and Law
4. Risk
5. Biosafety
6. Biosecurity
7. Who Decides?

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