Synthetic biology is a rapidly expanding discipline at the interface between engineering and biology. Much research in this area has focused on gene regulatory networks that function as biological switches and oscillators. Here we review the state of the art in the design and construction of oscillators, comparing the features of each of the main networks published to date, the models used for in silico design and validation and, where available, relevant experimental data. Trends are apparent in the ways that network topology constrains oscillator characteristics and dynamics. Also, noise and time delay within the network can both have constructive and destructive roles in generating oscillations, and stochastic coherence is commonplace. This review can be used to inform future work to design and implement new types of synthetic oscillators or to incorporate existing oscillators into new designs.
- Bristol BioDesign Institute
- synthetic biology