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In this 5-week “Build-a-Gene” class, we will learn and practice the techniques that synthetic biologists use to synthesize novel genes and genomes. We will design and synthesize one gene, a variant of the green fluorescent protein that will make our cells glow green. We will discuss how this technology is currently being used to re-design bacterial cells and create custom vaccines, and we will discuss how and by whom the use of this technology should be regulated.

For more information on the history and uses of GFP and on the Emerald GFP variant: [1] For more information on synthetic genomics: [2]

Results: Red fluorescent protein control (left) and emerald GFP (right)

For detailed information, background reading and experimental protocols for each of the course sessions, click below.

Build-a-Gene Session 1

Build-a-Gene Session 2

Build-a-Gene Session 3

Build-a-Gene Session 4

Build-a-Gene Session 5

We have also discussed the uses and applications of synthetic genomics. For additional reading on these topics, click on the links below.

Synthetic Viruses: [3][4][5][6]

Synthetic Bacteria: [7][8][9][10]

Future prospects: Synthetic eukaryotes, de-extinction, and nightmare scenarios! [11][12][13][14]

Class Experiences

Class Notes