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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 = {Meccariello, A and Krsticevic, F and Colonna, R and Del, Corsano G and Fasulo, B and Papathanos, PA and Windbichler, N},
doi = {10.1101/2020.08.07.240226},
title = {Engineered sex distortion in the global agricultural pest<i>Ceratitis capitata</i>},
url = {},
year = {2020}

RIS format (EndNote, RefMan)

AB - <jats:title>Abstract</jats:title><jats:p>Genetic sex ratio distorters have potential for the area-wide control of harmful insect populations. Endonucleases targeting the X-chromosome and whose activity is restricted to male gametogenesis have recently been pioneered as a means to engineer such traits. Here we enabled endogenous CRISPR/Cas9 and CRISPR/Cas12a activity during spermatogenesis of the Mediterranean fruit fly<jats:italic>Ceratitis capitata</jats:italic>, a worldwide agricultural pest of extensive economic significance. In the absence of a chromosome-level assembly, we analysed long and short-read genome sequencing data from males and females to identify two clusters of abundant and X-chromosome specific sequence repeats. When targeted by gRNAs in conjunction with Cas9 they yielded a significant and consistent distortion of the sex ratio in independent transgenic strains and a combination of distorters induced a strong bias towards males (~80%). Our results demonstrate the design of sex distorters in a non-model organism and suggest that strains with characteristics suitable for field application could be developed for a range of medically or agriculturally relevant insect species.</jats:p>
AU - Meccariello,A
AU - Krsticevic,F
AU - Colonna,R
AU - Del,Corsano G
AU - Fasulo,B
AU - Papathanos,PA
AU - Windbichler,N
DO - 10.1101/2020.08.07.240226
PY - 2020///
TI - Engineered sex distortion in the global agricultural pest<i>Ceratitis capitata</i>
UR -
ER -