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Title: Design, analysis and construction of novel synthetic gene networks
Author: Purcell, Oliver
ISNI:       0000 0004 2718 4671
Awarding Body: University of Bristol
Current Institution: University of Bristol
Date of Award: 2011
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Synthetic biology aims to engineer biological systems and components, ultimately for applications as diverse as medical therapeutics and energy production. A major focus in synthetic biology has been the design and construction of relatively simple synthetic gene networks which display interesting dynamics, or functions. Many synthetic gene networks have been designed, and in some cases constructed in vivo, and can display a variety of dynamics, such as oscillations and switching. The most studied network has been the oscillator, and a number of different designs now exist. This thesis first reviews the oscillator field, the review forming the motivation for designing synthetic gene networks that are capable of either using the output from oscillators, or responding to other sources of oscillations. Two novel, theoretical synthetic gene networks are then presented which are designed to use oscillations as an input. The first network is a frequency multiplier, designed to use oscillations of the type produced by the current synthetic oscillators. Further analysis of this network shows that it possesses the property of multi-functionality, and can additionally function as a switch or an oscillator depending on the nature of the input it receives. The second network is a pulse generator, designed to use temperature as an input. In addition to a theoretical analysis, the pulse generator was constructed in vivo in E. coli. Experimental testing of the pulse generator suggested that the degradation conferred by ssrA tags, used to ensure rapid degradation of the network's proteins, is highly temperature dependent. Subsequent experiments confirmed this, highlighting an important weakness in using ssrA tags, the standard means of achieving rapid protein degradation in synthetic gene networks.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available