Synthetic Biology Goes Cell-Free

BMC Biol. 2019 Aug 8;17(1):64. doi: 10.1186/s12915-019-0685-x.


Cell-free systems (CFS) have recently evolved into key platforms for synthetic biology applications. Many synthetic biology tools have traditionally relied on cell-based systems, and while their adoption has shown great progress, the constraints inherent to the use of cellular hosts have limited their reach and scope. Cell-free systems, which can be thought of as programmable liquids, have removed many of these complexities and have brought about exciting opportunities for rational design and manipulation of biological systems. Here we review how these simple and accessible enzymatic systems are poised to accelerate the rate of advancement in synthetic biology and, more broadly, biotechnology.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biotechnology / methods*
  • Cell-Free System*
  • Synthetic Biology / methods*