Biosystems design by directed evolution

Yajie Wang, Xiaowei Yu, Huimin Zhao

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Through iterative rounds of genetic diversification and screening or selection, directed evolution has been widely used to engineer relatively simple biosystems such as nucleic acids and proteins with desired functions. In addition, directed evolution has played an important role in engineering more complex biosystems such as pathways and genomes. Since 2013, directed evolution has been further explored for biosystems design with numerous newly developed techniques that have enabled design and engineering of proteins, pathways, and genomes in a much more effective manner. In this review, we will highlight the abiotic biotransformations arisen from directed evolution and novel strategies for continuous evolution in vivo and ultrahigh-throughput screening. We will also discuss the future challenges and opportunities of applying directed evolution for biosystems design.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere16716
JournalAIChE Journal
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2020


  • directed evolution
  • genome engineering
  • pathway engineering
  • protein engineering
  • synthetic biology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Chemical Engineering(all)


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