Addressing evolutionary questions with synthetic biology

Le 24 Avril 2020
This seminar will be live streamed

Yolanda Schaerli 

University of Lausanne, Switzerland


Synthetic biology emerged as an engineering discipline to design and construct artificial biological sys- tems. Initial synthetic designs focused on proof-of-principles to achieve specific biological behavior and started to be exploited for biotechnological, medical and industrial purposes. However, mimicking com- plex natural systems using well-characterized biological parts also provides powerful experimental ap- proaches for evolutionary biology to study evolution at the molecular and systems level. The strength of synthetic biology is to go beyond nature’s toolkit, to test alternative versions and to study a particular biological system and its phenotype in isolation (i.e. orthogonal to the host cell) and in a quantitative manner. In my talk, I will present mainly unpublished work to highlight how we use synthetic circuits hosted in E. coli to study evolutionary constraints, epistasis and duplication.

Recent publications:

Schaerli, Y., Jimenez, A., Duarte, J. M., Mihajlovic, L., Renggli, J., Isalan, M., Sharpe, J., Wagner, A. (2018) Syn- thetic circuits reveal how mechanisms of gene regulatory networks constrain evolution, Molecular Systems Bi- ology, 14:e8102

Santos-Moreno, J., Schaerli, Y. (2019) Multistable and dynamic CRISPRi-based synthetic circuits in E. coli, BioRxiv, doi: 10.1101/756338

Schaerli, Y.Munteanu, A., Gili, M., Cotterell, J., Sharpe, J., Isalan, M. (2014) A unified design space of synthetic stripe-forming networks, Nat. Commun., 5:4905

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