Industrial synthetic biology at Amyris: lessons from 5 years high-throughput DNA assembly

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Stefan de Kok, Leslie Stanton, Todd Slaby, Victor Holmes, Kedar Patel, Darren Platt, Rich Hansen, Jed Dean, Zach Serber

Amyris Inc, United States

Amyris successfully engineered Saccharomyces cerevisiae for the industrial scale production of artemisinic acid, a precursor to the potent isoprenoid antimalarial drug artemisinin, and (E)–farnesene, a valuable platform molecule from which an energy dense diesel fuel and a variety of chemicals can be derived. To accelerate the identification of yeast strains with improved performance, Amyris developed an Automated Strain Engineering (ASE) platform, based on a modular synthetic biology system which utilizes a series of well-characterized DNA linkers, computer-aided strain design and automated systems for DNA amplification, DNA assembly and transformation. Since its initiation in 2008, more than 12.000 individual DNA fragments have been assembled into over 25.000 unique plasmids. In this presentation, the lessons from 5 years high-throughput DNA assembly will be discussed, including an experimental comparison of different DNA assembly methods and ongoing developments to improve Amyris’ synthetic biology platform.