Synthetic biology in the real world: Case studies

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Algal oils by design

By Caroline Channing

Professor Johnathan Napier and Dr Olga Sayanova are leading the project on metabolic engineering of microalgae for the enhanced production of omega-3.

Omega-3 are long-chain fatty acids found in fish oils which are widely acknowledged to be beneficial components of the human diet.

They have engineered the diatom Phaeodactylum tricornutum (micro-algae) to accumulate elevated levels of the high value omega-3 DHA, increasing the amount produced 8 fold compared to the wild-type strain. 


UK Strategic Plan for Synthetic Biology 2016

Click on the image above to download the UK Synthetic Biology Strategic Plan 2016

New synthetic biology technologies are starting to offer exciting opportunities across a range of industries including manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, biofuels and health.

Research Council funding in collaboration with a wide variety of national and international partners across academia and industry, is supporting the long-term growth of UK synthetic biology, development of a highly skilled workforce and an infrastructure to underpin and enable cutting edge research in industry and academia, as well as providing support for synthetic biology start-up companies.

The pervasive potential of synthetic biology is brought to life through a series of case studies ranging from a biosensor toolkit with the ability to treat chronic conditions such as diabetes through to using enzymes from yeast mould to unlock cleaner routes to producing biofuel.

The wide ranging applications of synthetic biology will play an important role in growing the UK's bioeconomy, creating new jobs and ensuring the UK is a world leader in this area.

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