Home » Emerging technologies » DNA data storage » News Digest #218 – $87m for base editing technology, $3m for PILI’s biopigments, DNA data storage

News Digest #218 – $87m for base editing technology, $3m for PILI’s biopigments, DNA data storage


Hi all,

Did you know that all the world’s data could be encoded in DNA that fits in the space of a teaspoon? This week we talk with Twist Bioscience’s Bill Peck about why the future will be written in DNA, and how you can submit your favorite memories to be encoded in biology.

More speakers for SynBioBeta are being announced all the time, and the early bird is ending in two weeks. We are excited to announce this year’s digital poster session too. If you’d like to present your work, partner with academia, industry, or find investors in the partnering lounge please apply here.

This week, Beam Therapeutics announced its launch with $87m in funding to develop CRISPR-based precision genetic medicines that make edits to single base pairs without cutting the DNA or RNA. The company is co-founded by David Liu, Feng Zhang, and Keith Joung from Harvard and MIT.

Base editing: a new category in CRISPR gene editing.

RebelBio alumni PILI raised $3m for the production of biobased dyes and pigments that reduce the environmental impact of chemistry used in the textile industry. Other applications such as plastics, coatings, or inks will also benefit from PILI’s technology in the near future. Kevin Costa takes a look at how the textile industry is looking to synthetic biology to go green.

Are programmable plants the future of farming? Scientists at the University of Washington described a tool for hacking into the hormone system of plants to control their growth.

Finally, join us for the launch of SynBioBetaLive!, a live web event we’re premiering on Wednesday, May 23 at 8 am Pacific. Our first event is with Timothy Gardner of Riffyn, who will show us how biological researchers can spend less time organizing their experimental data and more time asking important questions about it.


The scientist still fighting for the clean fuel the world forgot
OS Fund — building a global biological immune system
Turning the tide for horseshoe crabs: new hope for an ancient species
Asimov named to STEX25 by the MIT Startup Exchange
Global Bioenergies to take part in three large H2020 projects
Air Force Research Lab visits synthetic biology companies and organizations

All the News

As lab-grown meat advances, U.S. lawmakers call for regulation (Science News)

Genentech forms $1B discovery collaboration with soil-prospector Lodo Therapeutics (FierceBiotech)

Molecular Devices officially opens new headquarters in Silicon Valley

How to build a bio-lab in 10 days – by Open Cell and Biotop, May 21 at 6 PM, London

GP-write has big goals for synthetic genomes (PLOS Synbio)

Opentrons announces the winners of the 2018 Opentrons + iGEM Team Challenge

NASA’s wild plan to build McMansions on Mars – out of fungus (Fast Co Design)

Victoria and Albert Museum “The Future Starts Here” exhibition features Mother Dirt, Bento Labs, and more

Agricultural company Pheronym receives $500K grant for pest control technology

QB3/UCSF I-Corps short course applications due this Friday

In early test, Inovio’s HIV vaccine delivered immune responses that lasted at least 6 months (FiercePharma)

Cyclotron Road announces fourth cohort of entrepreneurial technology fellows

Transcriptic appoints life science industry veteran Jeff Finer, M.D., Ph.D. to board of directors (Press release)

Synlogic CEO Gutierrez-Ramos resigns, Brennan named Interim Chief Exec (Xconomy)

Who’s Hiring?

DNA Synthesis Lead: Joint Genome Institute, California, United States

Synthetic biologist/Protein engineer: XENO Cell Innovations, Pilsen, Czech Republic

Director of Science Education: Genspace, Brooklyn, NY

Community Lab Biosafety Officer Fellowship: Genspace, BUGSS and Biocurious

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