Current opinion in biotechnology. 2021-10-01; 71.25-31.

Biotechnology for secure biocontainment designs in an emerging bioeconomy

Arnolds KL, Dahlin LR, Ding L, Wu C, Yu J, Xiong W, Zuniga C, Suzuki Y, Zengler K, Linger JG, Guarnieri MT

PMID: 34091124


Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) have emerged as an integral component of a sustainable bioeconomy, with an array of applications in agriculture, bioenergy, and biomedicine. However, the rapid development of GMOs and associated synthetic biology approaches raises a number of biosecurity concerns related to environmental escape of GMOs, detection thereof, and impact upon native ecosystems. A myriad of genetic safeguards have been deployed in diverse microbial hosts, ranging from classical auxotrophies to global genome recoding. However, to realize the full potential of microbes as biocatalytic platforms in the bioeconomy, a deeper understanding of the fundamental principles governing microbial responsiveness to biocontainment constraints, and interactivity of GMOs with the environment, is required. Herein, we review recent analytical biotechnological advances and strategies to assess biocontainment and microbial bioproductivity, as well as opportunities for predictive systems biodesigns towards securing a viable bioeconomy.