Automated Assembly of Standard Biological Parts

Methods Enzymol. 2011;498:363-97. doi: 10.1016/B978-0-12-385120-8.00016-4.


The primary bottleneck in synthetic biology research today is the construction of physical DNAs, a process that is often expensive, time-consuming, and riddled with cloning difficulties associated with the uniqueness of each DNA sequence. We have developed a series of biological and computational tools that lower existing barriers to automation and scaling to enable affordable, fast, and accurate construction of large DNA sets. Here we provide detailed protocols for high-throughput, automated assembly of BglBrick standard biological parts using iterative 2ab reactions. We have implemented these protocols on a minimal hardware platform consisting of a Biomek 3000 liquid handling robot, a benchtop centrifuge and a plate thermocycler, with additional support from a software tool called AssemblyManager. This methodology enables parallel assembly of several hundred large error-free DNAs with a 96+% success rate.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Automation / methods*
  • Base Sequence
  • DNA / chemical synthesis*
  • High-Throughput Screening Assays
  • Plasmids / genetics
  • Robotics
  • Software*
  • Synthetic Biology / methods*
  • User-Computer Interface


  • DNA