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Make What You Want

Twist Bioscience is betting that it can synthesize DNA for use in synthetic biology applications faster and cheaper than other methods, Wired reports.

Twist CEO Emily Leproust, formerly of Agilent, shows Wired's Sarah Zhang the company's silicon wafer and compares it to the ubiquitous 96-well plastic plate. As Zhang notes, one 96-well plate can be used to make one gene, but Twist says its silicon wafer, if it were the size of the plate, could make 10,000 genes.

This number of genes could help power synthetic biology efforts, Zhang says, noting that Twist recently inked a deal with Ginko Bioworks to provide it with 100 million basepairs of synthetic DNA.

"We're Intel and Ginkgo is Microsoft," Leproust says.

In its alpha stage, the company delivered sequences to 100 customers, and when it starts it beta program nest year, Twist plans to offer gene synthesis for 10 cents a letter with a 10-day turnaround time. This, Zhang says, is a bit cheaper and faster than the 18 cents a letter and 20-day turnaround time offered by its competitor Gen9. She adds, though, that Gen9 is running a promotion that matches Twist's price.

Zhang notes that Twist doesn't offer sequences as long as those provided by Gen9 and traditional gene synthesis companies. It's focusing on sequences shorter than 1,800 basepairs for its beta program, though says it plans to go longer.