Cambridge website for Synthetic Biology resources

Compiled by Jim Haseloff at the University of Cambridge. SpannerPlantLogo140This site contains details of recent papers and activity in Synthetic Biology, with particular emphasis on: (i) development of standards in biology and DNA parts, (ii) microbial and (iii) plant systems, (iv) research and teaching in the field at the University of Cambridge, (v) hardware for scientific computing and instrumentation, (vi) tools for scientific productivity and collected miscellany.

Similar to the Cambridge-based Raspberry Pi and OpenLabTools initiatives, we promote the use of low cost and open source tools - in our case for use in biological engineering.

Google: Synthetic Biology news

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RNAi patent jolt


RNAi patent jolt
Charlie Schmidt - Nature Biotechnology

The US Patent and Trademark Office has issued a patent for detection of RNA-mediated gene silencing to Sir David Baulcombe, University of Cambridge, and Andrew Hamilton, University of Glasgow, over a decade after their gene silencing findings in plants were first reported (Science 2869509521999). “The new patent has implications beyond plants,” says Jan Chojecki, CEO of Plant Bioscience Limited (PBL), of Norwich, the tech transfer company that owns the patents. “Anyone in the US profiling short RNAs and their impact on gene expression in mammalian systems is likely to be interested. We think it will create quite a stir.” The new patent recognizes Baulcombe and Hamilton's discovery that when genes are silenced complementary RNA strands of 20–30 bp accumulate—a finding that also proved critical to establishing short RNAs as a tool to manipulate gene expression. The initial patent for this technology, issued in 2004, was limited to plants, but the new patent broadens out to mammals. PBL expects to grant licenses to industry but will not enforce rights in academia, provided researchers use licensed detection kits. James McNamara, who directs the Office of Technology Management, University of Massachusetts Medical School, points out that Craig Mello and Andrew Fire, now at Stanford University, developed comparable RNA detection methods. “But if a company practices methods that might infringe on Baulcombe and Hamilton, they might take a license on it for reasonable terms,” he says.



Research news at Cambridge University

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Online resources, including bibliography, weblinks and posters, for work with the simple plant system, Marchantia polymorpha.

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OpenLabTools: open technology in Cambridge


The OpenLabTools Project is a new initiative for the development of low cost and open access scientific tools at the University of Cambridge. With support from the Raspberry Pi Foundation, student projects include data acquisition, sensing, actuating, processing and 3D manufacturing, see the website.

Research Studies

PhD Studentships in Cambridge

The Board of Graduate Studies manages admission of the University's graduate students. Prospective students should start here - for an introduction to the University of Cambridge, the courses we offer, how to apply for postgraduate study, how your application will be processed, and immigration and other important information.

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