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Computers Design Precise Genetic Programs

genetic circuit concept, illustration

Bioengineers used computer models to build genetic circuits that can be introduced into cells to fight or prevent disease.

Credit: Justin Muir

Synthetic biologists and computational modelers have teamed up to use computer simulations to circumvent the laborious process of designing and testing genetic circuits.

Josh Leonard at Northwestern University and Neda Bagheri at the University of Washington, and their respective research teams, are working to build genetic programs more quickly and reliably and to develop tools that help other researchers do the same.

The collaboration "aspires to build genetic programs that do what we want them to do the first time, every time, because the computational models effectively take care of the trial and error for us in advance," Leonard says.

The team describes its work in "Model-Guided Design of Mammalian Genetic Programs," published in Science Advances.

"We're now at a point where we have both a reliable set of tools and a formal design process for constructing gene regulatory functions," says first author Joseph Muldoon.

From National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering
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