DARPA awards DNA research contract to The Foundry

DARPA has funded a research effort that seeks to create a "revolution in designing and writing DNA," it has been announced. The $32 million five-year contract was awarded to The Foundry, a partnership between MIT's Broad Technology Labs and Synthetic Biology Center. The technology created under this new contract could result in faster, more advanced techniques in engineering biology, the uses for which will span agricultural, medical, and industrial uses.

The new contract was announced today. The Foundry has tasked itself with creating technology spanning many aspects of genetic engineering, from designing to testing to manufacturing. The technology developed will be used to do these things in large sequences, and at faster rates than is currently possible.

Put more simply, The Foundry seeks to make it possible to design and write DNA at much larger scales than current technology facilitates. The organization was given $7 million in DARPA seed funding a couple years ago, funds it also used to further this goal; in that case, the Foundry developed a platform able to rapidly put together "massive genetic systems".

That platform is able to produce DNA megabases by the hundreds much faster than other technologies in place. According to a statement released today, DARPA's latest contract and funding comes as part of its Living Foundries: 1000 Molecules project. Under this, DARPA seeks facilities for quickly designing and producing entirely new substances.

SOURCE: Genome Web