Thursday, February 12, 2009

Biobrick standards used to create Bio Brick Vectors! (Text Article)

By now you should know that Synth Bio is all about creating standard biological parts "Bio Bricks" so you can create organisms in the same way you would construct legos - with pieces that all fit and work together.

Here is a great link to an article about extending Bio Bricks to plasmid-based vectors.

You remember what a plasmids and vectors are right? Here you go from wiki:

A plasmid is an extra-chromosomal DNA molecule separate from the chromosomal DNA[1] In many cases, it is circular and double-stranded. Plasmids usually occur naturally in bacteria, but are sometimes found in eukaryotic organisms Plasmids used in genetic engineering are called vectors. Plasmids serve as important tools in genetics and biotechnology labs, where they are commonly used to multiply (make many copies of) or express particular genes.[2] Many plasmids are commercially available for such uses. The gene to be replicated is inserted into copies of a plasmid containing genes that make cells resistant to particular antibiotics and a multiple cloning site (MCS, or polylinker), which is a short region containing several commonly used restriction sites allowing the easy insertion of DNA fragments at this location. Next, the plasmids are inserted into bacteria by a process called transformation. Then, the bacteria are exposed to the particular antibiotics. Only bacteria which take up copies of the plasmid survive the antibiotic, since the plasmid makes them resistant. In particular, the protecting genes are expressed (used to make a protein) and the expressed protein breaks down the antibiotics. In this way the antibiotics act as a filter to select only the modified bacteria. Now these bacteria can be grown in large amounts, harvested and lysed (often using the alkaline lysis method) to isolate the plasmid of interest. which is capable of replicating independently of the chromosomal DNA.

Ok, now we are ready to tackle the article. Below is the abstract and here is the link.

"Here we extended the same advantages of BioBrick standard biological parts to the plasmid-based vectors that are used to provide and propagate BioBrick parts. We developed a process for engineering BioBrick vectors from BioBrick parts. We designed a new set of BioBrick parts that encode many useful vector functions. We combined the new parts to make a BioBrick base vector that facilitates BioBrick vector construction. We demonstrated the utility of the process by constructing seven new BioBrick vectors. We also successfully used the resulting vectors to assemble and propagate other BioBrick standard biological parts."

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