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Defining Synthetic Biology tools

Omic-Engine is participating in the European Project BioroBoost ( ). Last week it was the second general assembly of Bioroboost which took place in Ghent (3-5 September). OMIC-Engine’s director Prof. F. Kolisis and members (G.Skretas-NHRF,D.Xatzinikolaou-NKUA and K.Garagounis-UTH) attended and are reporting some useful directions for people working in Synthetic Biology derived from this meeting, dealing with the definition of what a chassis is and how we standardized it, as well as the important risk assessment issues we need to keep in mind when constructing and before using it.

Towards a definition of SynBio chassis:

In general sense, a chassis is a defined, reusable biological frame where non-native components can be plugged in and out for creating new functionalities.

In a realistic sense, a chassis is biological host amenable to and optimized for holding designed genetic circuits and deploying their encoded properties under specified environmental conditions.

What extra info makes a host to become a chassis:

· Genome edited for efficacy in target scenario

· Stability (no HR), durability

· Ab-sensitive, phage sensitivity

· Genetic tools

Standardized chassis:

· Defined energy metabolism

· Stress resistance

· Traceability (unique identifiers)

· HGT (both as recipient & donor)

· Safety (GRAS/FDA vs QPS/EFSA)

· Containments achievable if required

Risk assessment issues re SynBio Agents:

1. Can: SBAs colonized and eventually takeover natural microbial communities?

2. Is there a chance that SBAs enter new niches that natural bacteria cannot?

3. Could SBAs go into a stage of uncontrolled growth

4. What are the chances of horizontal transfer of the synthetic genes to novel recipients

5. Is there a trade-of between safety and biotechnological efficacy of SBAs

6. Could traits engineered in SBAs evolve towards viruses or other deleterious behavior?

7. Are there scenarios where SBAs are capable of changing life or property?

8. What is the environmental fate of synthetic genes?

9. Should SBAs be endowed with traits to increase their safety and predictability?


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