Microfluidic approaches for systems and synthetic biology
Microfluidic systems miniaturise biological experimentation leading to reduced sample volume, analysis time and cost. Recent innovations have allowed the application of -omics approaches on the microfluidic scale. It is now possible to perform 1.5 million PCR reactions simultaneously, obtain transcriptomic data from as little as 150 cells (as few as 2 transcripts per gene of interest) and perform mass-spectrometric analyses online. For synthetic biology, unit operations have been developed that allow de novo construction of synthetic systems from oligonucleotide synthesis through to high-throughput, high efficiency electroporation of single cells or encapsulation into abiotic chassis enabling the processing of thousands of synthetic organisms per hour. Future directions include a push towards integrating more processes into a single device and replacing off-chip analyses where possible.
Journal: Current Opinion in Biotechnology - Volume 21, Issue 4, August 2010, Pages 517–523