AJTR Copyright © 2009-All rights reserved. Published by e-Century Publishing Corporation, Madison, WI 53711
Am J Translational Res 2010;2(4):381-389

Review Article
Synthetic biology for translational research

Peter D. Burbelo, Kathryn H. Ching, Brian L. Han, Caitlin M. Klimavicz and Michael J. Iadarola

Neurobiology and Pain Therapeutics Section, Laboratory of Sensory Biology, National Institute of Dental and
Craniofacial Research, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892
Received July 1, 2010; accepted July 15, 2010; available online July 20, 2010

Abstract: Synthetic biology involves the engineering of proteins, signaling pathways and even whole organisms
using modular designs and formats.  A major tool of synthetic biology is artificial gene synthesis, which provides
a direct means from a conceptualized DNA sequence to the corresponding physical DNA for the construction of a
variety of biological components.  To date, synthetic biology has often been used to answer fundamental
questions in basic research, but now is poised to greatly enhance translational research.  In this review, we
discuss several translational applications of synthetic biology including the construction of novel diagnostics and
vaccines, development of new synthetic pathways for drug screening and biosynthesis, and the creation of
engineered viruses and microbes to fight human disease.  Together these and other novel translational
applications of artificial gene synthesis and synthetic biology have the opportunity to make major advances for
improving human health. (AJTR1007001).

Key words: Artificial gene synthesis, synthetic biology, drug discovery, genetically-modified organisms,
translational research, vaccines

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Address all correspondence to:
Peter D. Burbelo, PhD
Building 49, Room 1C36, 49 Convent Drive
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Tel: 301-402-0778.  Fax: 301-402-0667