Integration of microfluidics into the synthetic biology design flow
One goal of synthetic biology is to design and build genetic circuits in living cells for a range of applications. Major challenges in these efforts include increasing the scalability and robustness of engineered biological systems and streamlining and automating the synthetic biology workflow of specification–design–assembly–verification. We present here a summary of the advances in microfluidic technology, particularly microfluidic large scale integration, that can be used to address the challenges facing each step of the synthetic biology workflow. Microfluidic technologies allow precise control over the flow of biological content within microscale devices, and thus may provide more reliable and scalable construction of synthetic biological systems. The integration of microfluidics and synthetic biology has the capability to produce rapid prototyping platforms for characterization of genetic devices, testing of biotherapeutics, and development of biosensors.