Advances in genetic circuit design: Novel biochemistries, deep part mining, and precision gene expression

Alec A.K. Nielsen, Thomas H. Segall-Shapiro, Christopher A. Voigt

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

105 Scopus citations


Cells use regulatory networks to perform computational operations to respond to their environment. Reliably manipulating such networks would be valuable for many applications in biotechnology; for example, in having genes turn on only under a defined set of conditions or implementing dynamic or temporal control of expression. Still, building such synthetic regulatory circuits remains one of the most difficult challenges in genetic engineering and as a result they have not found widespread application. Here, we review recent advances that address the key challenges in the forward design of genetic circuits. First, we look at new design concepts, including the construction of layered digital and analog circuits, and new approaches to control circuit response functions. Second, we review recent work to apply part mining and computational design to expand the number of regulators that can be used together within one cell. Finally, we describe new approaches to obtain precise gene expression and to reduce context dependence that will accelerate circuit design by more reliably balancing regulators while reducing toxicity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)878-892
Number of pages15
JournalCurrent Opinion in Chemical Biology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Biochemistry


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