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Bioinformatics. 2010 Apr 1;26(7):925-31. doi: 10.1093/bioinformatics/btq063. Epub 2010 Feb 16.

Standard virtual biological parts: a repository of modular modeling components for synthetic biology.

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  • 1Auckland Bioengineering Institute, University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand.



Fabrication of synthetic biological systems is greatly enhanced by incorporating engineering design principles and techniques such as computer-aided design. To this end, the ongoing standardization of biological parts presents an opportunity to develop libraries of standard virtual parts in the form of mathematical models that can be combined to inform system design.


We present an online Repository, populated with a collection of standardized models that can readily be recombined to model different biological systems using the inherent modularity support of the CellML 1.1 model exchange format. The applicability of this approach is demonstrated by modeling gold-medal winning iGEM machines.


The Repository is available online as part of We hope to stimulate the worldwide community to reuse and extend the models therein, and contribute to the Repository of Standard Virtual Parts thus founded. Systems Model architecture information for the Systems Model described here, along with an additional example and a tutorial, is also available as Supplementary information. The example Systems Model from this manuscript can be found at The Template models used in the example can be found at

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