If you're interested in the field of synthetic biology, then chances are you've thought about learning it. But how can you do so without spending a fortune? The answer is that there are plenty of online resources available to help you get started on your path to becoming a synthetic biologist. In this article, we'll go over some of these resources and what they offer.
In order to learn synthetic biology, you will need to have a strong understanding of basic biology and biochemistry. You'll need to understand how cells work, how DNA works, the functions of proteins, enzymes and other important biomolecules like amino acids and carbohydrates. It's also helpful if you can recall your high school chemistry lessons on organic chemistry or anything else related to chemical structures. If you're not sure where to start with this subject matter, here are some great resources that can help:
A genetic construct is a collection of DNA elements that encode a specific function. For example, to make a protein, you would need to put the sequence for that protein into your DNA.
A BioBrick is a piece of DNA that encodes a defined function: it may be as simple as an antibiotic resistance marker or as complex as an entire bacterial genome. The registry contains thousands of these standard parts available for use in synthetic biology projects across labs around the world and facilitates sharing by providing information about what each part does and how it was made. Parts can be downloaded from the registry using BioBrick standard parts numbers (BB#) which are unique identifiers assigned by other users when they upload their designs (see more on this below).
A BioBrick is a DNA sequence that has been designed to perform a specific function in a cell. A variety of different biological parts, including promoters, terminators, genes and restriction sites are used to construct these bio-devices. These parts can be ordered from the Registry of Standard Biological Parts which contains over 300000 BioBricks for construction.
The first step in learning about synthetic biology is to get familiar with the basics. Before you begin working on your own research projects, it's important to understand how cells work and what they're made of. This can be a little tricky, since there are so many different types of cells, so let's start by looking at some basic cell anatomy.
In your body, there are two main types of cells: eukaryotic (those with nuclei) and prokaryotic (those without). Within those groups there are further distinctions based on size and shape—for example, red blood cells are eukaryotic while bacteria are prokaryotic. A cell also has different parts that perform specific functions like absorbing nutrients or reproducing itself via mitosis (cell division). It also contains a nucleus where all its genetic material is contained; this DNA acts as instructions for how that particular cell should behave throughout its life cycle in order for it to survive as part of an organism (or even by itself).
The goal of this section is to have you learn the basic principles of recombinant DNA assembly and cloning, including how it works and what you need to get started.
In order to design genetic constructs using computer programs and online tools, you will need to be familiar with computer programming. This can be a challenging task for many people. If you aren't familiar with the basics of coding or have no idea where to begin, there are plenty of resources that can help.
The easiest way to learn about coding is by taking an online course on one of the many platforms available, like Udemy or Coursera. These courses include exercises that allow you to practice what you've learned in the class and help reinforce your understanding of each concept before moving onto more difficult topics (such as debugging).
There’s no substitute for hands-on experience working in a lab when learning synthetic biology. It’s expensive, and there are often long waiting lists for laboratory positions. And even if you can get into a lab, it can be hard to stay motivated when you're paying thousands of dollars for your own tuition and don't have access to materials or equipment that other students are using.
There are many online resources available for those seeking to learn about synthetic biology at home or on their own time:
In the end, there’s no substitute for getting your hands dirty and working in a molecular biology lab. We hope this guide has helped you get started on your journey to becoming a synthetic biologist!