Issue 4, 2016

Addressing biological uncertainties in engineering gene circuits


Synthetic biology has grown tremendously over the past fifteen years. It represents a new strategy to develop biological understanding and holds great promise for diverse practical applications. Engineering of a gene circuit typically involves computational design of the circuit, selection of circuit components, and test and optimization of circuit functions. A fundamental challenge in this process is the predictable control of circuit function due to multiple layers of biological uncertainties. These uncertainties can arise from different sources. We categorize these uncertainties into incomplete quantification of parts, interactions between heterologous components and the host, or stochastic dynamics of chemical reactions and outline potential design strategies to minimize or exploit them.

Graphical abstract: Addressing biological uncertainties in engineering gene circuits

Article information

Article type
Review Article
31 Oct 2015
07 Dec 2015
First published
09 Dec 2015

Integr. Biol., 2016,8, 456-464

Author version available