Development of a domain-specific genetic language to design Chlamydomonas reinhardtii expression vectors
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MOTIVATION: Expression vectors used in different biotechnology applications are designed with domain-specific rules. For instance, promoters, origins of replication or homologous recombination sites are host-specific. Similarly, chromosomal integration or viral delivery of an expression cassette imposes specific structural constraints. As de novo gene synthesis and synthetic biology methods permeate many biotechnology specialties, the design of application-specific expression vectors becomes the new norm. In this context, it is desirable to formalize vector design strategies applicable in different domains. RESULTS: Using the design of constructs to express genes in the chloroplast of Chlamydomonas reinhardtii as an example, we show that a vector design strategy can be formalized as a domain-specific language. We have developed a graphical editor of context-free grammars usable by biologists without prior exposure to language theory. This environment makes it possible for biologists to iteratively improve their design strategies throughout the course of a project. It is also possible to ensure that vectors designed with early iterations of the language are consistent with the latest iteration of the language. AVAILABILITY AND IMPLEMENTATION: The context-free grammar editor is part of the GenoCAD application. A public instance of GenoCAD is available at http://www.genocad.org. GenoCAD source code is available from SourceForge and licensed under the Apache v2.0 open source license.
author list (cited authors)
Wilson, M. L., Okumoto, S., Adam, L., & Peccoud, J.