June 08, 2013

In 2013 one Gen9 Biofab platform will begin synthesizing as much DNA as the rest of the world and will unleash the potential of Synthetic Biology

Gen9 has built the first gene synthesis fabrication platform based on silicon chips and today offers longer, more accurate constructs at lower cost. The technology relies on highly multiplexed gene synthesis and an error correction pipeline to produce synthetic DNA at far greater scale than is possible with other tools. Known as the BioFab platform, the technology can generate tens of thousands of DNA constructs per year and allows capacity additions on an exponential scale.

This year, Gen9 expects its BioFab platform to be able to produce as much synthetic DNA in a single lab as can be produced by the rest of the world. This improvement will revolutionize the types of experiments, as well as the scale of those experiments, that will be possible in academic laboratories, research institutes, and industrial organizations. Rather than studying a handful of genes, for example, scientists will be able to study whole pathways or even whole genomes in a single project.

This ability will fundamentally change the landscape of what is possible in bioengineering for agbio, enzyme design, biofuels, pharmaceutical development, and more. These are all industries that could benefit from synthetic biology but have yet to fully invest in the field because of its high cost and low throughput. With the lower costs, higher accuracy, and longer constructs associated with next-gen gene synthesis, these industries and many others will rapidly deploy resources to see what they can accomplish through synthetic biology.

Gen9 is using the work of Joseph Jacobson at MIT, Drew Endy at Stanford, and George Church at Harvard.

As next-generation gene synthesis begins to fuel synthetic biology, scientists can expect faster progress at an even more impressive scale.

Synthetic biology is already building its basic toolkit, with a switch and an oscillator, for instance, and scientists have stored 70 billion copies of a book in genetic material the size of a garden pea. On the horizon are drop-in genes, protein signaling pathways and other interchangeable parts for the emerging industrial biotechnology toolkit.

— Gen9 is developing scalable technologies for synthesizing and assembling DNA. May 29, 2013 they announced the commercial availability of GeneBytes™ DNA constructs, or gene fragments, manufactured at lengths ranging from 1,000 to 3,000 base pairs long. This new capacity extends the company’s product portfolio, which also includes GeneBits™ constructs, shorter DNA snippets in the range of 500 to 1,000 base pairs. By the end of 2013, Gen9 plans to offer synthesized genes up to 10,000 base pairs long. Both GeneBits and now GeneBytes are produced as clonal, sequence-verified DNA and are shipped to the customer either as linear double-stranded DNA or cloned into vectors.

With high-accuracy constructs in the multi-kilobase (Kbp) range, scientists in biology and many other industrial fields will be able to study the behavior of full genes, metabolic pathways, distant genetic elements, genomes and new aspects of DNA that cannot currently be interrogated, or even created, with shorter synthetic DNA constructs

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