Recent Posts

Interviews with Synthetic Biologists: Kevin Chen

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…

Review: Towards a sustainable bio-based economy through plant synthetic biology ($) (Plant Sci)

Plant synthetic biology is heating up, as ideas and methods initially developed for single-celled organisms are moving into the more interesting and complicated space of multicellular organisms; this leads to greater potentials as well as greater challenges. Why plants? One important reason is that they…

Review: Synthetic switches and regulatory circuits in plants (Plant Physiol)

Switches and circuits are key parts of a synthetic biologist’s toolbox. Andres et al. provide historical background and core ideas as well as current understanding of these devices. Switches are defined as components that detect an input signal and transform it into an output signal. Inputs can be…

Review: Applications of protein engineering and directed evolution in plant research (Plant Physiol)

Half of the 2018 Nobel Prize in Chemistry was awarded to Frances Arnold “for the directed evolution of enzymes”. Essentially, this involves modifying an enzyme and screening its properties repeatedly to develop an enzyme with novel attributes.  Engqvist and Rabe review this powerful method and its…

Interviews with synthetic biologists: Karsten Temme

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…

Interviews with synthetic biologists: Guillaume Barbier

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…

Interviews with synthetic biologists: Tobias Erb

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…

Optogenetic manipulation of stomatal kinetics improves carbon assimilation, water use, and growth ($) (Science)

Optogenetics is a biotechnique that uses light-sensitive molecules to regulate cell activity. In plants, stomatal aperture mediates both CO2 uptake for photosynthesis and water loss by transpiration. The carbon-water trade-off control affects water use efficiency (WUE). Here, Papanatsiou et al. studied…

Interviews with synthetic biologists: Matthew Mattozzi

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…