Synthetic biology is a rapidly developing field at the frontier of science. It applies engineering methods to direct the behaviors of living systems for beneficial outcomes. For example, genes could be configured into circuits that are implanted into human body cells to guide them in detecting and combating deadly diseases.
A genetic circuit is more an abstract concept than a physical construction. One gene segment encodes or produces a particular protein that either activates or inhibits the expression or protein production of another gene segment. Continuing this sequence results in a chain of influence or inducement that functions as a circuit to drive the actions of the cell in which it is planted.
The potential of this complex design work has expanded during the past three decades into a variety of diagnostic and therapeutic applications. But current approaches to development have reached a bottleneck due to the growing size and complexity of synthetic gene circuits.