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Synthetic Genomes from Microarray-Synthesized Oligos

The latest issue of Nature includes a technology feature describing advances toward synthetic genomes1.  A major step in that advancement is the ability to quickly synthesize thousands of oligonucleotides that can be “stitched” together to form synthetic genes. Oligonucleotides have conventionally been synthesized individually on glass-column supports, but now microarrays allow thousands of molecules to be assembled side-by-side. Highly advanced microfluidics and DLP projectors can be programmed to direct the desired chemical reaction to each feature on the microarray and thus enable accurate and cost-effective gene and genome synthesis.

LC Sciences’ microarray-synthesized OligoMix product has been used to create synthetic genes as far back as 2004 when a team led by George Church synthesized all 21 genes that encode the proteins of the Escherichia coli 30S ribosomal subunit2.

Last year, a team at the Biodesign Institute of Arizona State University demonstrated the robustness and cost-efficiency of LC Sciences’ microarray-synthesized OligoMix when they used it to construct genes that were indistinguishable from genes assembled from high-quality column-synthesized oligos3.

  1. Baker M. (2011) Synthetic genomes: The next step for the synthetic genome. Nature 473, 403-08. [article]
  2. Tian, J., Gong, H., Sheng, N., Zhou, X., Gulari, E., Gao, X., and Church, G. (2004) Accurate multiplex gene synthesis from programmable DNA chips. Nature 432, 1050-54.  [abstract]
  3. Borovkov AY, Loskutov AV, Robida MD, Day KM, Cano JA, Le Olson T, Patel H, Brown K, Hunter PD, Sykes KF. (2010) High-quality gene assembly directly from unpurified mixtures of microarray-synthesized oligonucleotides. Nucleic Acids Res 38(19), e180. [article]