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).