Plant Synthetic Biology
University of Cambridge, Plant Sciences Part II

Discuss the relative benefits and difficulties of genetically reprogramming metabolism in algae versus plants.

Describe recent advances in the assembly of synthetic DNAs. What are the potential benefits of using these new assembly techniques?

Technical advances over the last decade have made it feasible to synthesise very large artificial DNAs (greater than 10^5 base-pairs) at relatively moderate cost. However the approach is rarely used. Why?

Provide examples of three simple genetic circuits that could be constructed in bacteria using one, two and three transcriptional repressors, respectively. Provide schematics of the DNA-encoded components, and describe the properties of the circuits.

Describe the major advances in a crop development in the 20th century, and speculate on what changes this century may see.

Discuss the conceptual similarities and differences between transforming a plant with synthetic DNA, and programming a computer with software.

Synthetic genetic circuits can be constructed from networks of mutually repressing transcription factors. Describe the properties these circuits possess.

Provide an example of an existing synthetic genetic circuit that involves cell-cell communication. How was this engineered, and what is the role of intercellular signalling in this system? How might this be applied in plants?