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IPFS News Link • Science, Medicine and Technology

Synthetic Biology: Advancing New Applications

•, by Leslie Mertz

This reprogramming lies at the heart of the relatively new and rapidly expanding field of synthetic biology, which is allowing scientists to begin developing, simulating, testing, and building cells for a range of applications.

An example is a product that detects the presence of the dangerous pathogen Listeria in food much more quickly than current methods. Developed by the Cambridge-based start-up company Sample6, which was co-founded by Lu and Michael Koeris when the two were graduate students, the product involves engineering a bacteriophage to identify and then tag Listeria with a "genetic circuit" that causes it to make luciferase. "Because luciferase is an enzyme that generates light, we can then use a very simple luminometer device to detect the light and easily measure whether a sample is infected," Lu explains.