Successes and failures in modular genetic engineering
Synthetic biology relies on engineering concepts such as abstraction, standardization, and decoupling to develop systems that address environmental, clinical, and industrial needs. Recent advances in applying modular design to system development have enabled creation of increasingly complex systems. However, several challenges to module and system development remain, including syntactic errors, semantic errors, parameter mismatches, contextual sensitivity, noise and evolution, and load and stress. To combat these challenges, researchers should develop a framework for describing and reasoning about biological information, design systems with modularity in mind, and investigate how to predictively describe the diverse sources and consequences of metabolic load and stress. âº Modular design of genetic devices enables design of increasingly complex systems. âº Development of modules and systems is hindered by several failure modes. âº Codification of biological information will facilitate computer aided design. âº Novel designs should explicitly consider modularity during engineering efforts.