About this Research Topic
Synthetic biology is a new emerging discipline that involves the design and construction of novel biological probes and entities, such as enzymes, genetic circuits, or synthetic cells with engineered or expanded biological functions. The field of synthetic biology emerged as a result of revolutionary biotechnologies including high-throughput DNA synthesis, genome editing, and rapid genome sequencing as well as directed and continuous in vitro and in cell evolution which alter cellular functions at the most basic level, i.e. modifying sequences of nucleic acids and proteins. In this case, re-writing or re-programming existing biological systems to produce designer proteins and nucleic acid polymers is a major area of focus in synthetic biology.
As key components of biological systems, nucleic acids are major targets in the field of synthetic biology for engineering and studying biochemical pathways and cells. One example is genetic code expansion, a field dedicated to expanding the number of genetically encoded amino acids to make site-specific installation of non-canonical amino acids into proteins possible for applications in basic molecular biology and medicine. Another example is to probe living cells under different growth conditions and environments, which is key to study cellular physiology and to design molecules for the manipulation of cell behavior.
This Research Topic will focus on engineering of nucleic acids for (1) expanding genetic codes and (2) probing living cells. This call for papers encourages any possible contributions in the form of reviews, perspectives, and/or original research articles.
Keywords: Synthetic Nucleic Acids, Genetic Code Expansion, Cell Probing, Cell Behavior, Genetic Reprogramming
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