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Synthetic botany

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23 May 2013, 11am: Free
at the James Hutton Institute, Dundee
for scientists, researchers and other interested parties
Jim Haseloff

Dr Jim Haseloff of the Department of Plant Sciences at the University of Cambridge will deliver this seminar on "Synthetic biology" at the James Hutton Institute in Dundee.

A formidable array of biochemical, biophysical and genetic techniques have been assembled for the description of biological systems, and this has given us methods for the comprehensive description of an organism’s genome, gene expression patterns and metabolic activities. New imaging techniques allow us to monitor activities within living organisms and to precisely reconstruct cellular architecture.

In addition advances in the technology of DNA synthesis and assembly have allowed the copying and reconstruction of entire bacterial chromosomes. This has raised the prospect of wholesale reprogramming of biological systems, or creation of new organisms. Unfortunately, the capacity for DNA synthesis has far outstripped our ability to design new or modified genetic systems on a similar scale.

The field of synthetic biology is based on the use of well-characterised and reusable components and numerical models – for the design of biological circuits, in a way that has become routine in other fields of engineering. It is providing a conceptual and practical framework for the systematic engineering of biological systems.

This can include the design of artificial gene networks that confer self-organising properties, the ability to reshape patterns of plant metabolism and growth, and the prospect of producing neomorphic structures suited to bioproduction. We have developed microscopy, software and genetic tools to allow clear visualisation of individual cells inside living plant tissues and have the means to manipulate them.

These techniques are well suited to study of simple experimental systems such as the lower plant Marchantia polymorpha. This type of simple system is becoming increasingly important for engineering studies in plant morphogenesis.

The seminar is being hosted by Dr Lionel Dupuy.

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Printed from /events/synthetic-botany on 09/07/20 03:59:43 PM

The James Hutton Research Institute is the result of the merger in April 2011 of MLURI and SCRI. This merger formed a new powerhouse for research into food, land use, and climate change.