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NEW YORK – Purveyors of genomics research tools were lining up at last week's SynBioBeta conference in San Francisco, to sell materials and assays used to engineer and analyze microbes that could produce goods and materials in a number of global markets.

Agilent, Illumina, Thermo Fisher Scientific, and Twist Bioscience were among the largest firms at this year's event, looking to engage with existing and potential customers who are trying to engineer biology — mainly microbes — to create new products in energy, materials, and agriculture.

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