Directed evolution as a powerful synthetic biology tool

Ryan E. Cobb, Ning Sun, Huimin Zhao

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Abstract

At the heart of synthetic biology lies the goal of rationally engineering a complete biological system to achieve a specific objective, such as bioremediation and synthesis of a valuable drug, chemical, or biofuel molecule. However, the inherent complexity of natural biological systems has heretofore precluded generalized application of this approach. Directed evolution, a process which mimics Darwinian selection on a laboratory scale, has allowed significant strides to be made in the field of synthetic biology by allowing rapid identification of desired properties from large libraries of variants. Improvement in biocatalyst activity and stability, engineering of biosynthetic pathways, tuning of functional regulatory systems and logic circuits, and development of desired complex phenotypes in industrial host organisms have all been achieved by way of directed evolution. Here, we review recent contributions of directed evolution to synthetic biology at the protein, pathway, network, and whole cell levels.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)81-90
Number of pages10
JournalMethods
Volume60
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 15 2013

Fingerprint

Synthetic Biology
Biological systems
Environmental Biodegradation
Biofuels
Bioremediation
Logic circuits
Biosynthetic Pathways
Tuning
Phenotype
Molecules
Enzymes
Pharmaceutical Preparations
Proteins

Keywords

  • Directed evolution
  • Synthetic biology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)

Cite this

Directed evolution as a powerful synthetic biology tool. / Cobb, Ryan E.; Sun, Ning; Zhao, Huimin.

In: Methods, Vol. 60, No. 1, 15.03.2013, p. 81-90.

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Cobb, Ryan E. ; Sun, Ning ; Zhao, Huimin. / Directed evolution as a powerful synthetic biology tool. In: Methods. 2013 ; Vol. 60, No. 1. pp. 81-90.
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