Recent Posts

Deep conservation of cis-element variants regulating plant hormonal responses (Plant Cell)

Promoter regions upstream of transcription start sites contain DNA regulatory elements (RE) crucial for the transcriptional control of gene expression. However, REs are short degenerated sequences with low conservation during evolution. In this paper, Lieverman-Lazarovich et al. studied REs in core hormone…

Interviews with Synthetic Biologists: Sunil Chandran, Amyris

Synthetic biology is a set of tools, a way of thinking, the integration of engineering principles into biological sciences, and potentially the biggest opportunity for advances in plant sciences since PCR. Yet many struggle to define it, and fewer still grasp its full potential. In August 2019, a Plant…

Interviews with Synthetic Biologists: Cathie Martin

Synthetic biology is a set of tools, a way of thinking, the integration of engineering principles into biological sciences, and potentially the biggest opportunity for advances in plant sciences since PCR. Yet many struggle to define it, and fewer still grasp its full potential. In August 2019, a Plant…

Plant Direct Q&A with Joshua Windhalm

What does your lab work on? We combine functional genomics with synthetic biology approaches to study the metabolism of redox-active plant natural products that can harnessed for applications relevant to agriculture and human health.  We are particularly interested in specialized quinones like…

Review: Synthetic biology in photosynthetic microbes: present and future (Plant Physiol)

Photosynthetic microbes are emerging models for synthetic biology applications since they possess relatively simple physiology and cellular organization, fast growth in liquid culture, and facile genetic manipulation. In this paper, Vavitsas et al. review current synthetic biology tools and applications…

Awaking the sleeping carboxylase ($) (JACS)

One of the things I like most about synthetic biology is the “why not” attitude. This article by Bernhardsgrütter et al. is intriguing because rather than taking the standard “let’s fix Rubisco approach,” the authors started with a non-CO2 fixing enzyme and engineered it towards having carboxylase…

A bacterium that demethylates opiate thebaine for a green chemistry solution ($) (Nature Sustainability)

Opium poppies produce opiates including morphine and thebaine. Derivatives of these compounds can also have diverse beneficial properties. One of these, naloxone, is a competitive opioid receptor antagonist that can be administered to counteract the effects of opioid overdose. Because of the rise in…

Addressing fundamental questions in plant science through synthetic biology

About this seminar In this seminar, we examined the role that synthetic biology can play in answering fundamental questions in plant science. In studying plants for the past hundred years, we’ve learned a great deal about the mechanistic underpinnings of development and metabolism. However, the…

Interviews with Synthetic Biologists: Kevin Chen, hyasynth

Synthetic biology is a set of tools, a way of thinking, the integration of engineering principles into biological sciences, and potentially the biggest opportunity for advances in plant sciences since PCR. Yet many struggle to define it, and fewer still grasp its full potential. In August 2019, a Plant…