Ethics in biotechnology

A major topic for this week, and for the field of synthetic biology is ethics and the implications of the DIY bio. As tools become readily availiable, enabling civilians to preform labs that used to be inaccessible outside of large institutions adaptions to regulation and policy change need to be considered. We were asked to consider one ethical question and propose a possible regulatory solutions.

Bio design

For our first lab we created DNA ladders using pPSU1 and pPSU2 using the ZymoPure Plasmid Miniprep Kit. The Lab procudure can be found here.


In this lab we shocked cells to cause their membranes to open up and absorb the surrounding plasmids.

Next Generation Synthesis

In this lab we used synthesized oligonuclease primers to amplify a PCR product. We then used Gibson Assembly on the PCR amplification to assemble a library of protein variant.

Bio Production

In this lab we tested the impact temperature and growth media composition has on the production of lycopene in E coli.

Protein Design

In this lab we learn about protein analysis, protein informatics and protein folding.

Engineering the Gut Microbiome

This week we did two independent activities. 1) We sampled our oral and topocal microbiom. We cultured it, and isolated a colony for sequencing. 2) We build a DIY microfluidic device that mixed two substances.

Synthetic Minimal Cells

In this lab we made a reaction in an RNAse free environment that synthesised GFP and FIAsH proteins.

3D Bio Printing & Biofabrication

This week we mixed bacteria into a Pluronic gel and 3D printed with it.

Principles of Measurement & Imaging

This week prefromed an expanion microscopy experiment to scale up a mouse brain.

DNA Nanostructures

In lecture we learned about the state of the art for DNA nanostructures, i.e. DNA oragami.

Genome Engineering

Using the lens of genomics to create synthetic cells and CRISPER-CAS9 to edit a bacterial genome.

Gene Drives

The introduction of a genetic mutation that is designed to propogate rapidly thorough a population by expression in all offspring.