Synthetic biology and much of modern biotechnology are underpinned by the ability to synthesize DNA cheaply and accurately. Despite recent improvements and drops in cost to synthesizing de novo DNA, there are still areas that modern techniques struggle to accommodate, such as synthesizing and assembling genes with repetitive sequences.
During my internship in the Chris French lab over the summer of 2017, I had the opportunity to work on Chris’ idea for codon-by-codon gene synthesis. The GenePrinter method synthesizes a double stranded DNA molecule and is not hindered by repetitive sequences, which may give a niche role in synthesizing particularly difficult sequences. In addition to this, I was also assisting and learning from Felipe Millacura and Dr. Morsaline Billah with their projects involving spatial diffuse bacterial logic gates and cell-free arsenic biosensors respectively.