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Cell. 2014 Nov 6;159(4):940-54. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2014.10.004. Epub 2014 Oct 23.

Paper-based synthetic gene networks.

Author information

1
Wyss Institute for Biological Inspired Engineering, Harvard University, Boston, MA 02115, USA; Department of Biomedical Engineering and Center of Synthetic Biology, Boston University, Boston, MA 02215, USA.
2
Wyss Institute for Biological Inspired Engineering, Harvard University, Boston, MA 02115, USA.
3
Department of Biomedical Engineering and Center of Synthetic Biology, Boston University, Boston, MA 02215, USA; Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Chevy Chase, MD 20815, USA.
4
Wyss Institute for Biological Inspired Engineering, Harvard University, Boston, MA 02115, USA; Department of Biomedical Engineering and Center of Synthetic Biology, Boston University, Boston, MA 02215, USA; Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Chevy Chase, MD 20815, USA. Electronic address: jcollins@bu.edu.

Abstract

Synthetic gene networks have wide-ranging uses in reprogramming and rewiring organisms. To date, there has not been a way to harness the vast potential of these networks beyond the constraints of a laboratory or in vivo environment. Here, we present an in vitro paper-based platform that provides an alternate, versatile venue for synthetic biologists to operate and a much-needed medium for the safe deployment of engineered gene circuits beyond the lab. Commercially available cell-free systems are freeze dried onto paper, enabling the inexpensive, sterile, and abiotic distribution of synthetic-biology-based technologies for the clinic, global health, industry, research, and education. For field use, we create circuits with colorimetric outputs for detection by eye and fabricate a low-cost, electronic optical interface. We demonstrate this technology with small-molecule and RNA actuation of genetic switches, rapid prototyping of complex gene circuits, and programmable in vitro diagnostics, including glucose sensors and strain-specific Ebola virus sensors.

PMID:
25417167
PMCID:
PMC4243060
DOI:
10.1016/j.cell.2014.10.004
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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