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New Frontiers and Applications of Synthetic Biology
2022, Pages 231-249

Design of synthetic biology for the detection of microorganisms diversity

Dong-Dong Yang1, Jake Flood2, Rongming Liu3, Susu He4

Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES), University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder, CO, United States.

Abstract

Microorganisms are deeply embedded in nearly every aspect of human activity and have significantly shaped the trajectory of mankind’s history. The important roles of microorganisms warrant the significant need for their rapid and sensitive detection. In this chapter, recent developments of a number of biosynthetic approaches for the detection of microorganisms are introduced. Because genetic information for microbes is stored in the nucleotide sequences that are usually species-specific, most recently developed methods for the identification and quantification of microbes target DNA or RNA sequences. The strategies covered here for nucleic acid detection include conventional quantitative polymerase chain reaction, various thermal cycler-independent techniques, clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats-Cas-based methods, RNA-based genetic circuitry, and metagenomic next-generation sequencing for targeted or whole-genome sequencing. We also elaborate on other biosignature-based microbe detection, including phage-based detection and bioluminescent sensors for pathogen detection. The comparative advantages and disadvantages of those detection methods are reported. Finally, future perspectives for the use of these technologies in clinical and industrial settings are discussed.

Keywords: Detection of microorganisms, isothermal amplification of nucleic acids, CRISPR-Cas-based detection of nucleic acids, RNA-based genetic circuitry, phage-based detection, bioluminescent sensors.

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