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Issue 10, 2012
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Engineering ecosystems and synthetic ecologies

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Microbial ecosystems play an important role in nature. Engineering these systems for industrial, medical, or biotechnological purposes are important pursuits for synthetic biologists and biological engineers moving forward. Here we provide a review of recent progress in engineering natural and synthetic microbial ecosystems. We highlight important forward engineering design principles, theoretical and quantitative models, new experimental and manipulation tools, and possible applications of microbial ecosystem engineering. We argue that simply engineering individual microbes will lead to fragile homogenous populations that are difficult to sustain, especially in highly heterogeneous and unpredictable environments. Instead, engineered microbial ecosystems are likely to be more robust and able to achieve complex tasks at the spatial and temporal resolution needed for truly programmable biology.

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The article was received on 04 Apr 2012, accepted on 18 May 2012 and first published on 22 May 2012

Article type: Review Article
DOI: 10.1039/C2MB25133G
Citation: Mol. BioSyst., 2012,8, 2470-2483
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    Engineering ecosystems and synthetic ecologies

    M. T. Mee and H. H. Wang, Mol. BioSyst., 2012, 8, 2470
    DOI: 10.1039/C2MB25133G

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