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Synthetic Genomes

Authors
  • Zhang, Weimin
  • Mitchell, Leslie A.
  • Bader, Joel S.
  • Boeke, Jef D.
Type
Published Article
Journal
Annual Review of Biochemistry
Publisher
Annual Reviews
Publication Date
Jun 20, 2020
Volume
89
Pages
77–101
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1146/annurev-biochem-013118-110704
Source
Annual Reviews
Keywords
License
Yellow

Abstract

DNA synthesis technology has progressed to the point that it is now practical to synthesize entire genomes. Quite a variety of methods have been developed, first to synthesize single genes but ultimately to massively edit or write from scratch entire genomes. Synthetic genomes can essentially be clones of native sequences, but this approach does not teach us much new biology. The ability to endow genomes with novel properties offers special promise for addressing questions not easily approachable with conventional gene-at-a-time methods. These include questions about evolution and about how genomes are fundamentally wired informationally, metabolically, and genetically. The techniques and technologies relating to how to design, build, and deliver big DNA at the genome scale are reviewed here. A fuller understanding of these principles may someday lead to the ability to truly design genomes from scratch.

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