O'Reilly logo

BioBuilder by Kathryn M Hart, Karen Ingram, Rachel Bernstein, Natalie Kuldell PhD.

Stay ahead with the world's most comprehensive technology and business learning platform.

With Safari, you learn the way you learn best. Get unlimited access to videos, live online training, learning paths, books, tutorials, and more.

Start Free Trial

No credit card required

Chapter 9. What a Colorful World

Image

What a Colorful World emphasizes  the “build” phase of the design-build-test cycle. The synthetic living systems you will build in this BioBuilder lab activity are cells colored with either a purple pigment or a green pigment, depending on the genetic program you choose to run. The intensity of the color, though, is tricky to predict in advance. Will the cells be pale or army green? Dark purple or light violet? Complicating things even further is the realization that each genetic circuit might produce different amounts of color depending on which bacterial strain is running it. The formal term for this kind of unexpected, quirky result from combining components is emergent behavior.

If you’re inclined to think like a scientist, such emergent behaviors might make you ask, “What explains the results I observe?” If you’re inclined to think like an engineer, these behaviors might make you think, “ugh”—and then get to work defining the best way to optimize a system’s performance with hopes of avoiding unexpected behaviors like these. Both approaches have merit, and together the scientific and engineering approaches should lead to more reliable designs in the future and minimize the number of surprising behaviors we see as we build new living systems.

In this lab, the DNA programs that generate purple or green pigments have already been written and ...

With Safari, you learn the way you learn best. Get unlimited access to videos, live online training, learning paths, books, interactive tutorials, and more.

Start Free Trial

No credit card required