National Institute of Science and Technology Synthetic Biology

Biodiversity as a source for synthetic domestication of specific characteristics and engineering of biological systems

INCT-BioSyn was established and funded by the Brazilian Ministry of Science and Technology and Innovation. The flagship institutions are EMBRAPA, Fiocruz and Instituto Tecnológico Vale and will operate in close connection with the University of Brasília, University of Campinas and UMIP GenClima.

Synthetic Spider Fiber

The knowledge base, including the synergy of natural sciences and artificial intelligence, forms the foundation of BioSyn. Developed technologies include artificial logic gates and memory devices and cellular logic implementations and complex gates required genetic circuitry layer; use of systems based on synthetic recombinase, for the integration of combinatorial logic and memory in living cells; Synthetic biological systems, from the design and construction of minimal genomes, for the production of innovative biological inputs with high performance; Synthetic cells capable of acting as biosensors for the performance of specific functions and prospection in response to biotic and/or abiotic external stimuli; physical (graphene-based) and genetic biosensors; Innovative cosmetics using synthetic spider silk proteins from biodiversity as a polymer base; production of a high-performance tropical soy “biochassis” for the precise engineering of proteins and oils; production of protein synthetic vacuoles utilizing cell-free systems; microfluidics systems for producing engineered monodisperse and complex liposomal structures for a wide range of applications; design, construction, and engineering of synthetic genomes.

Technologies and technological platforms

It is expected that the activity of INCT BioSyn will result in the development and mastering of several new technologies, technological platforms and products. All have great potential for incorporation by the biotechnology industry. 

The Synthetic Biology Platform is an advanced and innovative interface, based on the knowledge of genetics and nanomolecular physics for the development of basic units, parts and functional biological circuits, useful for multidisciplinary areas of knowledge. The genetic function engineering platform is focused on improving the form and effectiveness of directly introducing genes into the genomes of interest. It will depend on the precise engineering of genomes and metabolic pathways of biological systems. The applied platform of genetic applications represents the interface between available knowledge and its practical applications.

Science education and dissemination

A strong emphasis is placed on training human resources. Undergraduate, graduate and postdoctoral students from different institutions will participate in all stages of the projects. Materials will be made available for “public communication”, which can be used with school districts, aimed at primary and secondary education, as well as initiatives to disseminate synthetic biology in social activities. The involvement of young researchers is a fundamental objective of the project.

Conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity

Recombinant DNA technology forms the basis for the synthetic domestication of biodiversity traits. Studies involve synthetic biology mimicking the production of specific traits in prokaryotic and eukaryotic organisms. This approach constitutes a sustainable and viable option for conserving and developing value-added processes from biodiversity products.