Interdisciplinary Initiatives Program Round 6 - 2012

Mark Kay, Pediatrics
Ron Davis, Biochemistry

The ability to synthesize long stretches of DNA at the bench would greatly augment molecular biology research. Currently, non-templated synthesis of nucleic acids at the gene scale is usually conducted by outsource providers at very high costs (~0.5$ per bp) with prolonged production times (>2 weeks per 1000 bp). The cost and time constraints commonly result in developing an alternative study design that limits the number of experimental conditions that can be reasonably tested. Our proposal is to develop a prototype desktop instrument that will allow investigators to synthesize long stretches of DNA of any sequence on demand in a cost-effective (~$0.01 per bp),simple (typing in sequence), and short time-frame (<24hr for 1.5kb). We believe the successful creation of such a machine would not onlyenable all molecular biology laboratories to create DNA molecules in a robust manner but greatly enhance research efforts related tobiological discovery, diagnostics, and therapeutics.