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The Synthetic Biology Open Language (SBOL) provides a community standard for communicating designs in synthetic biology

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Matthew Pocock, Dr Jennifer Hallinan, Dr Goksel Misirli, Professor Anil Wipat


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The re-use of previously validated designs is critical to the evolution of synthetic biology from a research discipline to an engineering practice. Here we describe the Synthetic Biology Open Language (SBOL), a proposed data standard for exchanging designs within the synthetic biology community. SBOL represents synthetic biology designs in a community-driven, formalized format for exchange between software tools, research groups and commercial service providers. The SBOL Developers Group has implemented SBOL as an XML/RDF serialization and provides software libraries and specification documentation to help developers implement SBOL in their own software. We describe early successes, including a demonstration of the utility of SBOL for information exchange between several different software tools and repositories from both academic and industrial partners. As a community-driven standard, SBOL will be updated as synthetic biology evolves to provide specific capabilities for different aspects of the synthetic biology workflow.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Galdzicki M, Clancy KP, Oberortner E, Pocock M, Quinn JY, Rodriguez CA, Roehner N, Wilson ML, Adam L, Anderson JC, Bartley BA, Beal J, Chandran D, Chen J, Densmore D, Endy D, Grunberg R, Hallinan J, Hillson NJ, Johnson JD, Kuchinsky A, Lux M, Misirli G, Peccoud J, Plahar HA, Sirin E, Stan GB, Villalobos A, Wipat A, Gennari JH, Myers CJ, Sauro HM

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Nature Biotechnology

Year: 2014

Volume: 32

Issue: 6

Pages: 545-550

Print publication date: 06/06/2014

Acceptance date: 01/01/1900

ISSN (print): 1087-0156

ISSN (electronic): 1546-1696

Publisher: Nature Publishing Group


DOI: 10.1038/nbt.2891


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Funder referenceFunder name
Autodesk, Inc.
Agilent Technologies' Applications and Core Technology University Research (ACT-UR) program
Microsoft Computational Challenges in Synthetic Biology Initiative
Office of Science, Office of Biological and Environmental Research
0527023National Science Foundation
1147158National Science Foundation
DE-AC02-05CH11231US Department of Energy
EF-0850100National Science Foundation
EP/J02175X/1Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council EPSRC) - Flowers Consortium project
CCF-1218095National Science Foundation
EP/G036004/1EPSRC - Centre for Synthetic Biology and Innovation at Imperial College
HR0011-10-C-0168Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)
R41 LM010745National Library of Medicine
R42 HG006737National Human Genome Research Institute
T15 LM007442National Library of Medicine