SBOL Visual: A Graphical Language for Genetic Designs

PLoS Biol. 2015 Dec 3;13(12):e1002310. doi: 10.1371/journal.pbio.1002310. eCollection 2015 Dec.


Synthetic Biology Open Language (SBOL) Visual is a graphical standard for genetic engineering. It consists of symbols representing DNA subsequences, including regulatory elements and DNA assembly features. These symbols can be used to draw illustrations for communication and instruction, and as image assets for computer-aided design. SBOL Visual is a community standard, freely available for personal, academic, and commercial use (Creative Commons CC0 license). We provide prototypical symbol images that have been used in scientific publications and software tools. We encourage users to use and modify them freely, and to join the SBOL Visual community:

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chromatin / chemistry*
  • Chromatin / metabolism
  • Chromatin Assembly and Disassembly
  • Computer-Aided Design
  • Cooperative Behavior
  • DNA / chemistry*
  • DNA / metabolism
  • Databases, Nucleic Acid
  • Genetic Engineering / methods*
  • Genetic Engineering / standards
  • Genetic Engineering / trends
  • Humans
  • Internet
  • Models, Genetic*
  • Nucleotide Motifs
  • Publications
  • Regulatory Sequences, Nucleic Acid
  • Software
  • Symbolism*


  • Chromatin
  • DNA