This project is developing technology for the rapid de novo fabrication of large DNA molecules up to and including entire genomes directly from a computer. Presently the field of genetic engineering is limited to the de novo engineering of single genes. This project seeks to enable the engineering and fabrication of vastly more complex systems including complete biochemical pathways and genetic networks. It is anticipated that the capabilities developed by this project will be enabling for new disciplines such as genetic circuit and transcriptional-translational logic engineering. Those attempting to model large genetic networks would be able to physically construct and test these networks.
Ultimately the ability to engineer genetic networks and biochemical pathways has extremely broad promise. Several early applications of great interest include 1) Detoxification of various types of both chemical and biological waste; and 2) Production of useful chemicals, such as plastics, pharmaceuticals, and hydrogen gas for fuel cells.