The DNA Synthesis Program at the Joint Genome Institute
Wednesday, April 30, 2014: 8:00 PM
Grand Ballroom D-E, lobby level (Hilton Clearwater Beach)
Len Pennacchio, Genomics, DOE Joint Genome Institute, Walnut Creek, CA
Next-generation sequencing technologies have enabled single genomes as well as complex environmental samples (metagenomes) to be sequenced on a routine basis. Bioinformatics analysis of the resulting sequencing data reveals a continually expanding catalogue of predicted proteins (> 50 million), which cover the full spectrum of known pathways and functional activities. Converting sequencing data retrieved from databases (digital information) into biochemical molecules that can be functionally characterized remains challenging for a number of reasons. One way to overcome the ‘information gap’ is through synthetic biology methods that allow genes and pathways to be synthesized in a template independent manner. Over the past 2 years we have developed an automated DNA synthesis pipeline at JGI, and have produced several megabases of synthetic DNA for internal as well as user projects. The projects include high-throughput characterization individual enzymes, generation of combinatorial libraries for synthetic pathways, and genome-scale engineering. In addition, we are working on informatics solutions for DNA synthesis design and implementation, an area that is becoming increasingly important as the field develops.