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A new platform offers a fast and more efficient way to target and program mammalian cells as genetic circuits, even complex ones.

Wilson Wong, professor of biomedical engineering at Boston University, explains:

“The problem synthetic biologists are trying to solve is how we ask cells to make decisions and try to design a strategy to make the decision we want it to. With these circuits, we took a completely different design approach and have created a framework for researchers to target specific cell types and make them perform different types of computations, which will be useful for developing new methods for tissue engineering, stem cell research, and diagnostic applications, just to name a few.”

Historically, engineered genetic circuits were inspired by circuit design in electronics, following a similar approach using transcription factors, proteins that induce DNA conversion to RNA, which is tricky to work with because it’s hard to predict an entirely new strand of genetic code.

 

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