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Here Are Common Applications of Gene Synthesis

The technology of gene synthesis has significantly changed fields, such as synthetic biology and biotechnology by allowing researchers to artificially construct genetic materials in the laboratory. This process has unlocked innovative applications in various fields, including biofuels, agriculture, and healthcare. Through gene synthesis, research can harness biology in new ways, which are impossible with the natural cloning of genes alone.

Understanding the Process of Synthesizing Genes

As a revolutionary process, gene synthesis, which gives researchers total control over nucleotides’ arrangement, entails the building of DNA synthesis through artificial methods. By breaking down boundaries in fundamental research, medicine, and biotechnology, this technology sparks dramatic revolution across various scientific fields; thus, ushering in the dawn of new discoveries. Using this technology also enables scientists to precisely mold genetic materials, creating genes with more elaborate sequences of nucleotides that reflect imaginative ideas. Through precision-driven strategies, researchers may solve genetics puzzles and deal with complex biological issues, which have been facing the research community. Ideally, the process of synthesizing genes includes the following steps:

  • Design – This first step involves design according to the DNA sequence. Qualified researchers use specialized software and tools to make the sequence while considering factors, such as codon optimization and the intended application.
  • Oligo (oligodeoxynucleotide) synthesis – Once the sequence of DNA is designed, now the process shifts to oligodeoxynucleotide synthesis. Basically, these oligos are single-stranded and short DNA fragments, which are synthesized chemically in automated equipment. They serve as building blocks for final DNA molecules.
  • Fragment assembly – All the synthesized oligodeoxynucleotides are meticulously assembled into complete DNA molecules. You can achieve this assembly using different processes, like PCR (polymerase chain reaction) and enzymatic ligation.
  • Purification & verification – Pre-arranged fragments of DNA now go through the purification process in order to eliminate contaminants or impurities. Lastly, the DNA gets sequenced to show that it matches the designed sequences perfectly.

Applications

Synthesis of genes technology has many benefits, like high accuracy levels, quick turnaround time, and affordability, making it ideal for various applications. Some of these applications include:

1.      Creating Gene Libraries

Through this technology, generating mutant libraries with multiple or single mutations to screen improved properties in protein will no longer be difficult.

2.      Constructing Hybrid Genes

With synthetic genes, it is now possible to add/delete introns, rearrange protein domains, or create novel hybrid genes by simply combining gene fragments that exist. You can add signal sequences and tags to a DNA sequence to ensure recombinant proteins are easily and properly purified.

3.      Adaptation of Codon Usage

64 codons encode 20 amino acids that organisms use. Some of these amino acids get encoded by around six different codons. All the specific have a unique ‘codon usage’ pattern that codes the same amino acids. For instance, six codons encode arginine. E. coli often uses two of those codons at a frequency of around 40%. The other 4 codons are hardly used in E. coli. If coding sequences from other organisms are introduced into E. coli expression systems, high frequencies of those four codons will likely lead to poor protein expression.

The bottom line is that gene synthesis technology has revolutionized many fields, including genetic engineering, giving us effective tools to expand and build genetic materials. While the technology has some drawbacks, researchers have significantly improved the process, enabling us to benefit a lot from it.

About the author

Leo Alice