Toward Re-Programming the Gut Microbiome

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The goal of the project is to create a robust, stable and safe synthetic community of microbes capable of augmenting the health of a human host. We will engineer commensal human gut bacteria with sophisticated genetic circuitry that is resistant to mutational deactivation, will perform in complex and challenging environments, is genetically insulated from natural organisms, and prevents escape of engineered organisms with redundant fail-safe mechanisms. The proposed work is inspired by advances in synthetic biology and the engineering of gene-based circuits, which have been demonstrated in laboratories but have largely remained confined to well-defined chassis organisms and environmental conditions. JCVI’s major role in this collaboration will be to recode and stabilize a Bacillus subtilis genome.

Funding for this project provided through DARPA.