WG meeting on Synthetic Biology

Thursday, May 8, 2014 - 10:00 to Friday, May 9, 2014 - 16:00
Working Group Meeting

Genetic Resources Repository for Plant Metabolic Engineering and Synthetic Biology

8.-9. May 2014, Helsinki, FI



The construction of genetic elements and their subsequent assembly into transcriptional units or genetic pathways and circuits for (plant) metabolic engineering and synthetic biology requires the amplification and/or de novo synthesis of large amounts of DNA. Although the assembly of higher-order genetic setups will become faster and easier with the widespread use of the emerging combinatorial and modular cloning systems (MoClo, GoldenBraid, Gibbson assembly, etc.), the first step for every laboratory will be the generation and sequence verification of kilobases of DNA to provide these basic modules. Especially since many genetic elements are redundantly used in numerous labs, it would be enormously advantageous to establish a central (either single- or multi-center) repository providing genetic building blocks for plant metabolic engineering and synthetic biology attempts. As a community effort, and on a non-profit basis, such a repository could speed up development of new tools and products. Ultimately, such effort should result in functional characterization of each genetic element deposited in the repository using standard descriptors.

Aim of the meeting

A repository of genetic elements that would be of use for the community needs to meet several requirements: i) it has to be open to everybody regarding depositing new sequences and retrieval of stored ones; ii) all entries should be quality-checked and verified, and computational resources should be provided; iii) use of this resource should be inexpensive (e.g. handling charges only); iv) IP issues need to be appropriately addressed. Moreover, academic rewards to researchers/research groups depositing newly characterized genetic devices could be considered.

A clear demand for such a structure has been identified during recent COST Action FA1006 meetings. Here, we will evaluate how already existing repositories are being managed (BioFab, BioBrick foundation, Adgene, etc.) and how appropriate funding for the initiation of such an effort could be achieved, with special consideration of the new infrastructure programs under the HORIZON2020 initiative (http://ec.europa.eu/research/participants/portal/desktop/en/opportunitie...).

Given the fact that many infrastructure programs are of considerably more substantial size than that anticipated for the PlantEngine “toolkit”, it might be necessary to cooperate with other, bigger, efforts and establish a subsection within a larger project. Invitation of experts in the issues of interest will help establish such contacts.



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