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Synthetic Biology & the Importance of Assembly Standards

Posted by Guest Blogger on Jul 8, 2014 11:06:00 AM

The field of synthetic biology has seen tremendous growth in recent years. At Addgene, synthetic biology deposits have grown exponentially, from just 2 plasmids in 2005 to 439 plasmids deposited last year. To shed some light on this growing field, we asked our friends at iGEM to share their expertise and discuss the importance of standards in the field.

The following post was contributed by Kim de Mora, iGEM Fellow.

What is Synthetic Biology?

“What I cannot create, I do not understand.” – Richard Feynman

This Feynman quote perfectly embodies the aims of synthetic biology in a single sentence. During the history of humanity, some of the most complex devices we have constructed are nuclear submarines, the space shuttle, the international space station and the Internet. But in all our existence, we have yet to design, engineer and build a cell from the ground up. A single bacterial cell is orders of magnitude more complex that the aforementioned feats of mechanical, aeronautical, electrical and computer engineering. These devices could be built because the underlying physical model of how the world works is understood by scientists and applied by engineers to practical ends.

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Topics: Plasmid Technology, Synthetic Biology

Inside Addgene's 10 Year Anniversary Gala

Posted by Guest Blogger on Jul 3, 2014 11:48:00 AM

Hey guys, Blugene here!

As Addgene’s mascot, I’ve watched Addgene grow into the successful, internationally renowned plasmid repository that it is today. Although I wish I could take all of the credit, the success of the company is attributed to the entire Addgene family; the depositors and requesting scientists, all of the Addgene employees, the Addgene board members, vendors, Addgene supporters, and of course, Executive Director, Joanne Kamens, and founders, Melina Fan, Ken Fan and Benjie Chen. Last week, the Addgene 10-year Anniversary Gala celebrated all of the people who have helped Addgene grow and spread our mission. 

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Topics: Fun, Inside Addgene

Story of a SynBio Startup: RevBio's Epiphany (or Lack Thereof)

Posted by Guest Blogger on Jun 5, 2014 11:32:00 AM

This post was contributed by Nikolai Braun and Keira Havens, co-founders of Revolution Bioengineering. 

Last year we started a company. Revolution Bioengineering is two responsible adults in their 30s who have quit their academic science careers in order to head to Ireland and take a chance as entrepreneurs. To make things more interesting, we are working in a new technical discipline that nobody understands (synthetic biology), building a product no one has ever seen before (flowers that change color throughout the day) and doing this with very little money. So when did inspiration strike us so hard that we upended our lives and took this daring risk? What moment changed our whole outlook on the possibilities in life for employment? 

It never happened – there was never a “moment”. But there were a lot of very small steps.

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Topics: Career, Synthetic Biology, Career Readiness

Dos & Don'ts When Publishing a Scientific Manuscript

Posted by Guest Blogger on May 22, 2014 12:02:55 PM

This post was contributed by Maaike Pols, PhD, a Developmental Editor at F1000Research. 

With many changes taking place in the world of science publishing, and an ever increasing number of journals and publishers to choose from, it gets very confusing for scientists writing research articles. What should you take into account when writing up your research?

What type of journal should I choose?

Writing a research paper for publication in a scientific journal requires several considerations. First, it is important to establish the type of audience you want to reach with your paper. Is it the wider scientific community, or are you writing for a specific subgroup of researchers in your area of expertise? Sometimes, the funders of your research may stipulate that your article must be published in an open access journal or by using the open access option in a conventional journal. Publishing via open access means that your manuscript will be available to anyone who wishes to read it, without them needing a subscription to the journal. An increasing number of funding bodies insist that the research data resulting from their funding should also be published. All these factors will influence your choice of journals to submit your work to.

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Topics: Career, Lab Tips

Which Fluorescent Protein Should I Use?

Posted by Guest Blogger on May 20, 2014 10:06:00 AM

This post was contributed by Gal Haimovich of greenfluorescentblog.

Be honest.  Do you really know how fluorescent proteins glow?  

Fluorescent Proteins (FPs) were first discovered over 50 years ago, with the discovery of the Green Fluorescent Protein (GFP), a protein from the jellyfish Aequorea Victoria. Since that discovery, the family of FPs just keeps getting larger with hundreds of variants available. Read on to familiarize yourself with the available FP emission colors and 10 points to keep in mind when choosing an FP (or two) for your upcoming experiments.

Fluorescence is the emission of light by a substance that has absorbed light. The emitted light is at a longer wavelength than the exciting wavelength. Thus, FPs are proteins with this unique capacity.

Many of these FPs are fluorescent when ectopically expressed in most organisms. Furthermore, fusing FPs to another protein usually does not affect its fluorescence. Therefore, FPs are used to study many biological questions. The two most common uses are: 1) to test the expression level in a specific system (by measuring the fluorescence intensity); and 2) to visualize the localization of the FP (fused to the protein of interest), thus tracking the localization of that biomolecule inside living cells.

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Topics: Plasmid How To, Plasmid Technology, Fluorescent Proteins

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