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Synthetic Biology underpins advances in the bioeconomy

Biological systems - including the simplest cells - exhibit a broad range of functions to thrive in their environment. Research in the Imperial College Centre for Synthetic Biology is focused on the possibility of engineering the underlying biochemical processes to solve many of the challenges facing society, from healthcare to sustainable energy. In particular, we model, analyse, design and build biological and biochemical systems in living cells and/or in cell extracts, both exploring and enhancing the engineering potential of biology. 

As part of our research we develop novel methods to accelerate the celebrated Design-Build-Test-Learn synthetic biology cycle. As such research in the Centre for Synthetic Biology highly multi- and interdisciplinary covering computational modelling and machine learning approaches; automated platform development and genetic circuit engineering ; multi-cellular and multi-organismal interactions, including gene drive and genome engineering; metabolic engineering; in vitro/cell-free synthetic biology; engineered phages and directed evolution; and biomimetics, biomaterials and biological engineering.



BibTex format

author = {Galizi, R and Hammond, A and Kyrou, K and Taxiarchi, C and Bernardini, F and O'Loughlin, SM and Papathanos, PA and Nolan, T and Windbichler, N and Crisanti, A},
doi = {10.1038/srep31139},
journal = {Scientific Reports},
title = {A CRISPR-Cas9 sex-ratio distortion system for genetic control.},
url = {},
volume = {6},
year = {2016}

RIS format (EndNote, RefMan)

AB - Genetic control aims to reduce the ability of insect pest populations to cause harm via the release of modified insects. One strategy is to bias the reproductive sex ratio towards males so that a population decreases in size or is eliminated altogether due to a lack of females. We have shown previously that sex ratio distortion can be generated synthetically in the main human malaria vector Anopheles gambiae, by selectively destroying the X-chromosome during spermatogenesis, through the activity of a naturally-occurring endonuclease that targets a repetitive rDNA sequence highly-conserved in a wide range of organisms. Here we describe a CRISPR-Cas9 sex distortion system that targets ribosomal sequences restricted to the member species of the Anopheles gambiae complex. Expression of Cas9 during spermatogenesis resulted in RNA-guided shredding of the X-chromosome during male meiosis and produced extreme male bias among progeny in the absence of any significant reduction in fertility. The flexibility of CRISPR-Cas9 combined with the availability of genomic data for a range of insects renders this strategy broadly applicable for the species-specific control of any pest or vector species with an XY sex-determination system by targeting sequences exclusive to the female sex chromosome.
AU - Galizi,R
AU - Hammond,A
AU - Kyrou,K
AU - Taxiarchi,C
AU - Bernardini,F
AU - O'Loughlin,SM
AU - Papathanos,PA
AU - Nolan,T
AU - Windbichler,N
AU - Crisanti,A
DO - 10.1038/srep31139
PY - 2016///
SN - 2045-2322
TI - A CRISPR-Cas9 sex-ratio distortion system for genetic control.
T2 - Scientific Reports
UR -
UR -
VL - 6
ER -