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DNA 2.0 to Offer Biofab Parts in Gene Designer

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This week, DNA 2.0 announced that it is offering biological building blocks from the Biofab International Open Facility Advancing Biotechnology through its Gene Designer software.

The company is offering the Biofab genetic parts as "virtual sequences" in a new "gene marketplace" module that provides researchers with preassembled and validated DNA elements for making genetic constructs with Gene Designer.

Biofab, spearheaded by scientists at the University of California, Berkeley, and Stanford University, kicked off last year with a $1.4 million grant from the National Science Foundation. The aim of the project is to develop thousands of standardized DNA parts for use in synthetic biology, academic, and biotech labs.

Biofab is operated in partnership with Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, the BioBricks Foundation — both of which provided matching funds — and Berkeley's Synthetic Biology Engineering Research Center.

The Biofab parts that are available through Gene Designer "are part of a pilot collection of transcription and translation controllers, and also include a first set of engineered terminators,” Drew Endy, Biofab director and cofounder of the BioBricks Foundation, said in a statement.

“With the pilot collection, we’ve made and characterized all combinations of the most frequently used promoters and 5’ UTRs in order to quantitatively describe how the genetic part performance varies across changing DNA contexts," he said. "This data allows us to estimate both the primary activity of a part ... and also the quality of a part."

With this announcement, DNA 2.0 becomes the first commercial vendor to provide access to the initial collection of biological parts developed by Biofab, the company said.

Claes Gustafsson, DNA 2.0's cofounder and chief operating officer, said that offering the Biofab parts through Gene Designer was a "natural fit" for the firm because its software is based on "the concept of a toolbox of virtual DNA elements that can be mixed and matched or saved and used repeatedly."

This "harmonizes with Biofab’s approach of creating broadly useful collections of standard biological parts," he said.

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