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Chem Biol. 2009 Mar 27;16(3):298-310. doi: 10.1016/j.chembiol.2009.02.011.

Frameworks for programming biological function through RNA parts and devices.

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Division of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, 1200 E. California Boulevard, MC 210-41, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA 91125, USA.


One of the long-term goals of synthetic biology is to reliably engineer biological systems that perform human-defined functions. Currently, researchers face several scientific and technical challenges in designing and building biological systems, one of which is associated with our limited ability to access, transmit, and control molecular information through the design of functional biomolecules exhibiting novel properties. The fields of RNA biology and nucleic acid engineering, along with the tremendous interdisciplinary growth of synthetic biology, are fueling advances in the emerging field of RNA programming in living systems. Researchers are designing functional RNA molecules that exhibit increasingly complex functions and integrating these molecules into cellular circuits to program higher-level biological functions. The continued integration and growth of RNA design and synthetic biology presents exciting potential to transform how we interact with and program biology.

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