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Fostering Synthetic Biology standardisation through international collaboration

Project description

An inclusive approach will lead to accepted standards for synthetic biology

Synthetic biology, as its name implies, involves engineering or re-engineering biological systems and subsystems to endow them with desired abilities and even ones not present in nature. The engineers developing the synthetic structural, biological, electrical and chemical circuits underlying these systems require standardised building blocks much as an electrical engineer might need transistors and resistors. When it comes to defining standard biological components, there is plenty of room for disagreement as the field spans not only biology and engineering but also ethics and environmental considerations. The EU-funded BioRoboost project is bringing multidisciplinary experts together to overcome the issues impeding standardisation and achieve a realistic and flexible toolbox of standard biological parts.

Objective

Synthetic Biology is an engineering research field aiming at (re)designing biological circuits for applied purposes. As any other engineering field, it strongly relies on the use of well-defined, universal and robust standard components. The outstanding success of synthetic biology in the last years should not hide the difficulties in defining biological standards. There are both historical and technical difficulties to reach that ambitious goal. On the former: the crossroad nature of synthetic biology involving mainly biologists/biotechnologists and engineers, whose views on the
standardisation of living beings tend to differ; among the latter: the intrinsic features of live (mutation, emergent properties, fitness biasses, variability and, of course, evolution). In BIOROBOOST we propose to finally overcome cultural issues and to dramatically advance in solving technical difficulties by i) gathering the most relevant stakeholders of all the aspects of standardisation in biology in Europe in a co-creation scenario; ii) by empirically testing cultural (lab-centric) standardisation practices and by promoting a consensus conceptual and technical redefinition
of biological standards; and, finally, iii) by fostering a realistic and flexible toolbox of standard biological parts, including a reduced set of specialised chassis for specific applications as well as a renewed conceptual framework to inform policy makers, scientific and other societal actors.

Call for proposal

H2020-NMBP-TR-IND-2018-2020

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Sub call

H2020-NMBP-BIO-CSA-2018

Coordinator

UNIVERSITAT DE VALENCIA
Net EU contribution
€ 549 423,26
Address
AVENIDA BLASCO IBANEZ 13
46010 Valencia
Spain

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Region
Este Comunitat Valenciana Valencia/València
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Links
Total cost
€ 620 933,26

Participants (27)