Title: Languages and Grammars for Programming DNA
Speaker(s): Drew Endy, BE, MIT
Abstract: Recent investments in fabrication process engineering have improved the technology of DNA synthesis such that it is now reasonable to construct synthetic genes and small viral genomes. Expected improvements in synthesis technology are sufficient to encourage several groups to begin work constructing synthetic bacterial genomes and yeast chromosomes. The advent of large-scale synthesis technology will directly impact the science of genetics, promoting "perturbation design" as a new foundational approach (building on past foundations in logic, mapping, and pattern recognition). Synthesis also directly enables the engineering of genetic and genetically-encoded systems. However, today, biological engineering lacks any robust framework that supports making good use of synthesis to encode useful, many-component integrated biological systems. While we can write DNA, we have very little to say. Here, I'll review the current state of gene and genome synthesis technology, our initial framework for programming DNA, and discuss ongoing research to improve this framework.
Host: Douglas Lauffenburger, BE/CSBi, MIT