Junbiao Dai

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Tsinghua University
Dai, Junbiao

Dr. Junbiao Dai received his Bachelors of Science from Nanjing University in 1993. He received his Master of Science in Biology in 2000 from Tsinghua Univeristy and his PhD in Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology in 2006 from Iowa State University. After receiving his PhD he was a post-doctoral fellow at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.  He is currently an Associate Professor in School of Life Sciences at Tsinghua University.

His research interests lie in genetics, genomics and system biology using budding yeast as a model system, with emphasis on histone modifications, chromatin biology and synthetic biology. He’s one of the key members in synthetic yeast consortium and leading a team to synthesize the largest yeast chromosome, chromosome XII.

Wed July 10 | 2:00 - 4:00 | Parallel Session
ABSTRACT: Synthetic yeast Chr XII and beyond

Recent advances in DNA synthesis technology have enabled the construction of not only the genetic circuits or pathways, but also the entire genome in an organism, leading to the new era of genome engineering. To further our understanding of the eukaryotic genome, an international synthetic yeast genome project, Sc2.0 was initiated. Work on 8 of the 16 Sc2.0 chromosomes has been begun by teams in the U.S., China and the U.K. Among the yeast chromosomes, Chr XII is the largest one, which contains about one million base pairs of DNA plus more than 100 copies of the 9.1kb ribosome DNA (rDNA) repeat. Here we describe our strategies to synthesize this giant chromosome. To facilitate the assembly of the synthetic chromosome, we explore the “awesome power” of homologous recombination in budding yeast.  Instead of synthesizing the mega-chunks as designed before, we developed an over-lapping integration strategy. In addition, laborious DNA extraction/cloning procedures were substituted by new “one pot” in vitro assembly method, leading to the fast and efficient replacement of the endogenous chromosome.  Furthermore, we will discuss multiple designs applied to the rDNA repeats, trying to further our understanding of this specific DNA region.