Tennessee start-up licenses ORNL technology to synthetically engineer fuels and medicines

October 19, 2017 |

In Tennessee, SimPath has licensed a novel cloning system developed by the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory that generates and assembles the biological building blocks necessary to synthetically bioengineer new medicines and fuels.

Knoxville, Tennessee-based startup SimPath will further develop ORNL’s cloning method into a multi-gene DNA assembly kit and software package for customers who use synthetic biology techniques. Synthetic biology leverages genome sequences of organisms, such as bacteria, yeast and plants, and reassembles the DNA parts to manufacture products that are difficult to obtain naturally.

ORNL researchers developed the cloning system to aid studies of drought-resistant plants that rely on a water-saving form of photosynthesis known as crassulacean acid metabolism, or CAM. The new system has been beta-tested at the DOE Joint Genome Institute, where it enabled a 50 percent increase in production.

The method offers flexible cloning with fewer biodesign restrictions and can be automated so that multiple genes can be connected seamlessly in a chain, creating better compatibility when connecting various protein-coding DNA parts.

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Category: Research

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