The context matrix: Navigating biological complexity for advanced biodesign.
Synthetic biology offers many solutions in healthcare, production, sensing and agriculture. However, the ability to rationally engineer synthetic biosystems with predictable and robust functionality remains a challenge. A major reason is the complex interplay between the synthetic genetic construct, its host, and the environment. Each of these contexts contains a number of input factors which together can create unpredictable behaviours in the engineered biosystem. It has become apparent that for the accurate assessment of these contextual effects a more holistic approach to design and characterisation is required. In this perspective article, we present the context matrix, a conceptual framework to categorise and explore these contexts and their net effect on the designed synthetic biosystem. We propose the use and community-development of the context matrix as an aid for experimental design that simplifies navigation through the complex design space in synthetic biology.
Is Part Of
Wellcome Trust (204845/Z/16/Z)
Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BB/M011194/1)