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Trends in Microbiology

Control of synthetic microbial consortia in time, space, and composition

Nicolas E.Grandel1, Kiara Reyes Gamas1, Matthew R. Bennett2,3

Graduate Program in Systems, Synthetic, and Physical Biology, Rice University, Houston, TX, USA.


While synthetic microbial systems are becoming increasingly complicated, single-strain systems cannot match the complexity of their multicellular counterparts. Such complexity, however, is much more difficult to control. Recent advances have increased our ability to control temporal, spatial, and community compositional organization, including modular adhesive systems, strain growth relationships, and asymmetric cell division. While these systems generally work independently, combining them into unified systems has proven difficult. Once such unification is proven successful we will unlock a new frontier of synthetic biology and open the door to the creation of synthetic biological systems with true multicellularity.

Keywords: microbial consortia, control, synthetic biology.

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