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The Usual Suspects 2019: of Chips, Droplets, Synthesis, and Artificial Cells

1
Institute of Applied Synthetic Chemistry, Institute of Chemical Technologies and Analytics, Faculty of Technical Chemistry, Vienna University of Technology, A-1060 Vienna, Austria
2
Austrian Cluster for Tissue Regeneration and Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Experimental and Clinical Traumatology, Allgemeine Unfallversicherungsanstalt (AUVA) Research Centre, A-1200 Vienna, Austria
3
Institute of Synthetic Bioarchitectures, Department of Nanobiotechnology, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Vienna, A-1190 Vienna, Austria
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Micromachines 2019, 10(5), 285; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi10050285
Received: 9 April 2019 / Revised: 24 April 2019 / Accepted: 26 April 2019 / Published: 27 April 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Microfluidic Applications in Synthetic Biology)
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Abstract

Synthetic biology aims to understand fundamental biological processes in more detail than possible for actual living cells. Synthetic biology can combat decomposition and build-up of artificial experimental models under precisely controlled and defined environmental and biochemical conditions. Microfluidic systems can provide the tools to improve and refine existing synthetic systems because they allow control and manipulation of liquids on a micro- and nanoscale. In addition, chip-based approaches are predisposed for synthetic biology applications since they present an opportune technological toolkit capable of fully automated high throughput and content screening under low reagent consumption. This review critically highlights the latest updates in microfluidic cell-free and cell-based protein synthesis as well as the progress on chip-based artificial cells. Even though progress is slow for microfluidic synthetic biology, microfluidic systems are valuable tools for synthetic biology and may one day help to give answers to long asked questions of fundamental cell biology and life itself. View Full-Text
Keywords: synthetic biology; microfluidics; high throughput; artificial cells; protein synthesis; cell-free synthesis; droplets; bottom-up; top-down synthetic biology; microfluidics; high throughput; artificial cells; protein synthesis; cell-free synthesis; droplets; bottom-up; top-down
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Eilenberger, C.; Spitz, S.; Bachmann, B.E.M.; Ehmoser, E.K.; Ertl, P.; Rothbauer, M. The Usual Suspects 2019: of Chips, Droplets, Synthesis, and Artificial Cells. Micromachines 2019, 10, 285.

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