A machine that speeds up evolution is revolutionizing genome design and selection of designer microbes.
Developed at the Wyss Institute, MAGE harnesses the natural principles of evolution to do all the heavy lifting of genome design and automates these steps to dramatically shorten the time scale required to produce microbes with specialised functionalities for manufacturing, sensing and therapeutic applications.
Genome engineering has a wide range of applications, from developing new biofuels, chemicals and drugs, to better understanding the genes that cause harmful mutations in humans. But current techniques for synthesising genomes are laborious and painstaking.
The Wyss Institute’s original MAGE device performed up to 50 different genome alterations at nearly the same time, producing combinatorial genomic diversity.
You can think of MAGE as an instrument of accelerated directed evolution.
The speed and ease with which MAGE can alter genomes is transforming how we approach the manufacturing and production optimization of industrially significant compounds in the bioenergy, pharmaceutical, agricultural, and chemical industries.
Source: Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University