Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Nat Biotechnol. 2014 Jun;32(6):545-50. doi: 10.1038/nbt.2891. Epub 2014 Jun 6.

The Synthetic Biology Open Language (SBOL) provides a community standard for communicating designs in synthetic biology.

Author information

  • 1Biomedical and Health Informatics, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, USA.
  • 2Synthetic Biology Unit, Life Technologies, Carlsbad, California, USA.
  • 3Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.
  • 4School of Computing Science, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK.
  • 5Autodesk Research, Autodesk, San Francisco, California, USA.
  • 6Bioengineering, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah, USA.
  • 7Virginia Bioinformatics Institute, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Virginia, USA.
  • 8Department of Bioengineering, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, California, USA.
  • 9Department of Bioengineering, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, USA.
  • 10Raytheon BBN Technologies, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA.
  • 11Fuels Synthesis Division, Joint Bioenergy Institute (JBEI), Berkeley, California, USA.
  • 12Department of Bioengineering, Stanford University, Stanford, California, USA.
  • 13IRIC, University of Montreal, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
  • 14Plant and Microbial Biology, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, California, USA.
  • 15Molecular Tools Laboratory, Agilent Technologies, Santa Clara, California, USA.
  • 16Clark & Parsia, Arlington, Massachusetts, USA.
  • 17Bioengineering, Imperial College London, London, UK.
  • 18DNA2.0, Menlo Park, California, USA.
  • 19Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah, USA.


The re-use of previously validated designs is critical to the evolution of synthetic biology from a research discipline to an engineering practice. Here we describe the Synthetic Biology Open Language (SBOL), a proposed data standard for exchanging designs within the synthetic biology community. SBOL represents synthetic biology designs in a community-driven, formalized format for exchange between software tools, research groups and commercial service providers. The SBOL Developers Group has implemented SBOL as an XML/RDF serialization and provides software libraries and specification documentation to help developers implement SBOL in their own software. We describe early successes, including a demonstration of the utility of SBOL for information exchange between several different software tools and repositories from both academic and industrial partners. As a community-driven standard, SBOL will be updated as synthetic biology evolves to provide specific capabilities for different aspects of the synthetic biology workflow.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Nature Publishing Group
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk