Rapid Forward Engineering of Biological Systems: Part 1 Diversity Generation

Significant potential exists to harness the power of biology to better humanity and the environment, however, substantial challenges remain. Forward engineering of biological systems will continue to rely on empirical methods. Diversity generation is one of two key principles needed to reach desired outcomes in a rapid, efficient and cost-effective manner. Sequence space is vast. A central challenge in forward engineering is to find genetic interventions that lead to improved function. A large-scale diversity generation approach, where many thousands of ideas are rapidly tested, has proved to be crucial to addressing this challenge. Strategies and tools to effectively apply the principles of diversity generation (and combinatorial optimization) have been developed over the last two decades and are now routinely used to rapidly engineer biological systems.