Living Foundries seeks to transform biology into an engineering practice by developing the tools, technologies, methodologies, and infrastructure to increase the speed of the biological design-build-test-learn cycle while significantly decreasing the cost and expanding the complexity of systems that can be engineered. The technologies and infrastructure developed as part of this program are expected to enable the rapid and scalable development of transformative products and systems that are currently inaccessible. Examples include novel materials, industrial chemicals, pharmaceuticals, and improved agricultural products.
The Living Foundries program is comprised of two components: 1) Living Foundries: Advanced Tools and Capabilities for Generalizable Platforms (ATCG) and 2) Living Foundries: 1000 Molecules.
The first component, Living Foundries: ATCG, is now complete. It focused on the development of next-generation tools and technologies for engineering biological systems with the goal of compressing the biological design-build-test-learn cycle by at least ten times in both time and cost, while increasing the complexity of systems that are created. Technical areas of interest included design and automation tools, modular genetic parts and devices, standardized test platforms and chassis, tools for rapid physical construction of biological systems, editing and manipulation of genetic designs, and new characterization and debugging tools for synthetic biological networks.
The second component of the program, Living Foundries: 1000 Molecules, builds upon the advancements and tools developed under ATCG to create a scalable, integrated, rapid design and prototyping infrastructure for the facile engineering of biology. This infrastructure will be defined by tools and processes to make possible a scale and sophistication of experimentation that does not exist today, and will provide a flexible, efficient, and continuously improving capability to the DoD and the engineering biology community. To demonstrate the power of the capabilities being developed, DARPA aims to use the infrastructure to generate 1,000 new molecules of relevance to the DoD and the domestic bioeconomy.
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