• The evolving art of creating genetic diversity: From directed evolution to synthetic biology.

      Currin, Andrew; email: andrew.currin@manchester.ac.uk; Parker, Steven; Robinson, Christopher J; Takano, Eriko; Scrutton, Nigel S; Breitling, Rainer; email: rainer.breitling@manchester.ac.uk (2021-05-15)
      The ability to engineer biological systems, whether to introduce novel functionality or improved performance, is a cornerstone of biotechnology and synthetic biology. Typically, this requires the generation of genetic diversity to explore variations in phenotype, a process that can be performed at many levels, from single molecule targets (i.e., in directed evolution of enzymes) to whole organisms (e.g., in chassis engineering). Recent advances in DNA synthesis technology and automation have enhanced our ability to create variant libraries with greater control and throughput. This review highlights the latest developments in approaches to create such a hierarchy of diversity from the enzyme level to entire pathways in vitro, with a focus on the creation of combinatorial libraries that are required to navigate a target's vast design space successfully to uncover significant improvements in function. [Abstract copyright: Copyright © 2021 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.]