BioBuilder
Synthetic Biology in the Lab
Publisher: O'Reilly Media
Final Release Date: June 2015
Pages: 238

Today’s synthetic biologists are in the early stages of engineering living cells to help treat diseases, sense toxic compounds in the environment, and produce valuable drugs. With this manual, you can be part of it. Based on the BioBuilder curriculum, this valuable book provides open-access, modular, hands-on lessons in synthetic biology for secondary and post-secondary classrooms and laboratories. It also serves as an introduction to the field for science and engineering enthusiasts.

Developed at MIT in collaboration with award-winning high school teachers, BioBuilder teaches the foundational ideas of the emerging synthetic biology field, as well as key aspects of biological engineering that researchers are exploring in labs throughout the world. These lessons will empower teachers and students to explore and be part of solving persistent real-world challenges.

  • Learn the fundamentals of biodesign and DNA engineering
  • Explore important ethical issues raised by examples of synthetic biology
  • Investigate the BioBuilder labs that probe the design-build-test cycle
  • Test synthetic living systems designed and built by engineers
  • Measure several variants of an enzyme-generating genetic circuit
  • Model "bacterial photography" that changes a strain’s light sensitivity
  • Build living systems to produce purple or green pigment
  • Optimize baker’s yeast to produce ?-carotene
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by PowerReviews
oreillyBioBuilder
 
4.7

(based on 3 reviews)

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Pros

  • Accurate (3)
  • Easy to understand (3)
  • Helpful examples (3)

Cons

No Cons

Best Uses

  • Novice (3)
  • Student (3)

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(1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

 
4.0

A Incredible book

By Tosta

from Ribeirão Preto, SP, Brasil

About Me Developer, Educator, Maker

Pros

  • Accurate
  • Concise
  • Easy to understand
  • Helpful examples
  • Well-written

Cons

  • Too basic

Best Uses

  • Novice
  • Student

Comments about oreilly BioBuilder:

The book has everything that is needed to enter in the world of Synthetic Biology.

(3 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

An accessible & empowering book - must read!

By Wieke Betten

from Amsterdam, The Netherlands

About Me Ethics Researcher, Lecturer, Phd Student, Social Scientist

Verified Reviewer

Pros

  • Accurate
  • Easy to understand
  • Empowering
  • Helpful examples
  • Well-written

Cons

    Best Uses

    • Biology Teacher
    • Expert
    • Igem Student
    • Intermediate
    • Novice
    • Student

    Comments about oreilly BioBuilder:

    BioBuilder is a brilliant book: it is extremely well written, fun to read, and accessible. It does not matter which level of expertise you have, there will be something to learn and take away from this book. Many books teach you a lot of things but in many cases it will be hard to explain what you've read to others, or even use the information. Especially on complex matters such as synthetic biology. This book helps you to develop the capacity to really understand, explain and use the information and insights it provides.

    As a researcher on ethical aspects of synbio I find the sections on ethics very valuable. The chapter is as accessible as the others and empower the reader to think about complex matters and come up with their own opinions and ideas. Many examples are given, and it does not only describe what is important, but also why that is important and how to deal with it.

    (5 of 5 customers found this review helpful)

     
    5.0

    An excellent survey of Synthetic biology -- Must read for al

    By Kumar Vadaparty

    from NJ

    About Me Kumar Vadaparty

    Pros

    • Accurate
    • Concise
    • Easy to understand
    • Helpful examples

    Cons

      Best Uses

      • Expert
      • Intermediate
      • Novice
      • Student

      Comments about oreilly BioBuilder:

      This is probably the best book for anyone trying to understand modern developments in synthetic biology. Whether you are an engineer, a student or simply a responsible citizen in modern day, you will benefit immensely by reading this book.

      In this day and time when you hear one new buzzword or "great genetic engineering discovery" producing another "miracle" (new organs, fossil fuels) or -- of course -- genetic engineering producing "Frankenstein GMOs destroying" our society (basically antipodal views our media likes to sensationalize), I believe we need a book that provides:

      (a) a Framework that reduces the entropy in the noise of buzzwords and accentuates the signal of science (in electrical engineering parlance -- amplify signal/noise ratio): clears the "vocabulary"/taxonomy of the meta data (what is synthetic biology versus genetic engineering versus..,< your latest buzzword>.) and sets a framework to understand these advanced topics better and consistently. This itself is a major contribution, and the authors do a superb job in introducing the vocabulary and connecting to real world (synthetic biology world) objects in a concrete manner.

      (b) an Engineer's view & and experimenter's (hands-on) view of synthetic biology: from both an experimental science perspective and from an engineer's view perspective (plan-build-test cycle) this provides a consistent and in depth descriptions of famous experiments (iGEM case-studies). The "Plan-BUILD-TEST" is paradigm used to describe these experiments is similar to the famous "Plan - Do -- Check -- ACT" cycle popularized by Deming as a part of engineering Quality control (QC) -- and not surprisingly QC plays a big part of synthetic biology. The authors categorize the major experiments described in the book (each is a chapter) by clearly indicating whether the experiment/chapter is is to emphasize the "plan" part, the "build part" or the "check" part

      (c) A good balance between "top down" and "bottom up": Many people lose me when they provide a "foggy" top-down (and repeated and lofty) view of the synthetic biology. These authors have done a superb job of providing a good top-down view buttressed by numerous bottom-up building of the knowledge. You see going from concepts to protocols -- it covers a fairly large spectrum -- but never loses the interest of the reader or the thread of communication while taking you through these large sweeping journeys through this exciting science. This is probably the most complex feat to achieve -- and achieve they did excellently.

      (d) An excellent (and dedicated chapter) coverage on ethics. Rather than providing a biased view, the authors provide a much needed balanced view by going right to the source of some of the famous original debates (and the consequences) of the ethical issues. What is particularly compelling is their treatment of the reader as a mature person -- not as a consumer of an 8 second sound-byte (time between two commercials). Ethics of synbio is as complex as the science of synthetic biology itself, and they do a very good job in covering it.

      (e) Last but not least: Excellent support structure through workshops (leading from this book) to teachers to provide this knowledge to young students. This is probably almost as compelling a reason to read this book as the rest of the previous parts I mentioned.

      Finally, I had the great fortune of listening to two of the authors (Dr. Natalie Kuldell and Karen Ingram presenting it) and Dr. Kuldell's description of the workshops (I could not attend one as the notice was too short for me to take timeoff).

      Dr. Kuldell is a dedicated scientist, great writer and cares for teaching -- a rare combination in these times. I wish more such authors come forward and write with similar passion.

      A great read (I could not put this book down and had to share with my son-- together -- we finished in three days).

      Read, have your children/friends/family read -- learn and ENJOY!!

      Kumar Vadaparty, Ph.D.
      Engineer, teacher and (forever) a student.

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