Three Studies in Synthetic Biology

  • Luke Cartlidge

Student thesis: Master's ThesisMaster of Science (MSc)


This report includes three separate studies in different areas of synthetic biology.

The first study’s aim was to investigate the potential use of Transcription Activator-Like Effectors (TALEs) as custom-built artificial transcription factors for use in synthetic gene regulatory networks in prokaryotes. A TALE was assembled from subunits to bind the lac operator sequence. This was ex-pressed from an inducible expression plasmid in E.coli and was able to repress expression of green fluo-rescent protein from a reporter plasmid.

The second study aimed to design a synthetic gene regulatory network split between two separate mi-crobial strains which could regulate the population densities of both strains. The design was tested in silico and its functioning and parameter ranges were modelled.

The third study was concerned with the goal of manipulating meiotic recombination in plants, by using the CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing system to create breaks in aligned homologous chromosomes during meiosis. A test system in Arabidopsis was devised. A sgRNA:Cas9 construct was assembled and replica-tion of a published edit was attempted. A meiocyte specific construct was also assembled, but not test-ed.
Date of Award25 Jun 2019
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Bristol
SupervisorClaire S Grierson (Supervisor) & Keith J Edwards (Supervisor)


  • Genome editing
  • Synthetic Biology
  • Arabidopsis

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