Medical Research

University of Wisconsin, Madison

Aseem Ansari, Parameswaran Ramanathan, Jennifer Reed, David C. Schwartz
Madison, WI
$1,000,000
June 2012

The ability to compose or “program” genomes to perform desired functions will yield insights into how gene networks govern life and will stimulate innovation in many disciplines that interface with biology. The current approach to synthetic genomes involves copying an existing small genome via time-intensive and cost-prohibitive methods. The UW team of engineers, chemists and biologists seeks to create a multifaceted system – a genome foundry – that permits rapid, inexpensive fabrication of de novo designed genomes. The interdisciplinary team, will develop an integrated system to enable design-to-fabricated genome production. The proposed “genome foundries” will comprise an inter-locking suite of computational tools, nanofluidic instrumentation, hardware fabrication languages, and custom-designed synthetic gene switches. The new technology envisioned could enable widespread invention of genome-aided solutions to fundamental and applied problems and the ability to compose and automate the synthesis of large DNA molecules could spur innovations in DNA-based nano-device fabrication and DNA computing.

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