HTGAA for dummies (like us)

What is this page

When I started HTGAA I knew nothing (nada, zero, void) about biology, let alone synthetic biology. So I am building this page while I am taking the course with everything I consider that should be read, watched and listened before you start HTGAA.

Start here

Why don't we start with synthetic biology? Here you are a video that will give you an overview of scope of synthetic biology which is not the same as genetic engineering. Watch closely:

So in genetic engineering you cut, copy and paste genes that already exist in nature from on specie to another. That is not new, we (we the human beings, not including me obviously) have been doing this for 40 years now. While in synthetic biology you are fabricating DNA that might not exist in nature. Another similar video that explains how DNA is designed or selected from a database and then ordered online in the Internet (yes, order like buying a book in Amazon). And this synthetic DNA made by a machine, whose raw material is sugar is delivered to you. The cost is a few cents a basepair and it's dropping, faster that Moore's Law. Look:

Yes, this is the second time they talk about biobricks. There is people making an open source catalog of DNA code with specific properties ready to order and use. They even are organizing a competition every year where they make more and more complex biobricks. Those biobricks can be embedded in bateria like intestinal E.Coli and be re-programmed:

Now that you watched these videos (several times in my case) you should have a basic understanding of what synthetic biology is. But this is only the beginning. As you can see, they are all the time talking about DNA, genes and base pairs. So let's see what all these things are.