The Codon Guide to Synthetic Biology

By Guest Blogger

I spent about seven years working in research labs, and then pivoted to writing full-time in mid-2020. As I left the ivory tower and walked down into its foothills, I began to have conversations with many people who eagerly follow progress in synthetic biology, and want to be involved, but are overwhelmed by its vague and ill-defined contours. (Many of them are software engineers, surprisingly, who have deep technical knowledge but little biology experience.)

The Codon Guide to Synthetic Biology

One of the best ways to learn about a new field is simply to know where to look and how to start. There is value, then, in having a guide that curates this information. And so I created the Codon Guide to Synthetic Biology in the hopes that it will help orient others as they begin their journey into synthetic biology. The guide is a curated list of research papers, blogs, free courses, YouTube channels, books, podcasts, and communities to help people get started in synthetic biology. While not everything is open-access, I have tried to prioritize open-access resources whenever possible. 

Codon Guide to Synthetic Biology logo
Image credit: Niko McCarty; adapted from Bruce Wetzel and Harry Schaefer, NCI, NIH | License


I’m updating it regularly as people send me suggestions. The most useful parts of the Guide are probably the papers and textbooks. I’ve selected “seminal” studies for various categories, including CRISPR gene-editing, the foundations of synthetic biology, DNA assembly, and various applications. I think these papers are good starting points to understand the contours of each topic. The video channels are also underrated and I recommend checking them out, especially since videos on synthetic biology can be difficult to find. I hope that many people will find this guide useful as they start their synthetic biology journey. And if you have additional resources that might be helpful, please reach out to me by email. 

About the author

5KT7Z9X5_400x400-minNiko McCarty is the editor of Asimov Press and is designing a genetic engineering curriculum at MIT. He also writes Codon, a blog about biotechnology.


Topics: Molecular Biology Protocols and Tips

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