Synthetic biology advanced natural product discovery
Review article, 2021

A wide variety of bacteria, fungi and plants can produce bioactive secondary metabolites, which are often referred to as natural products. With the rapid development of DNA sequencing technology and bioinformatics, a large number of putative biosynthetic gene clusters have been reported. However, only a limited number of natural products have been discovered, as most biosynthetic gene clusters are not expressed or are expressed at extremely low levels under conventional laboratory conditions. With the rapid development of synthetic biology, advanced genome mining and engineering strategies have been reported and they provide new opportunities for discovery of natural products. This review discusses advances in recent years that can accelerate the design, build, test, and learn (DBTL) cycle of natural product discovery, and prospects trends and key challenges for future research directions.

Design-build-test-learn (DBTL) cycle

Synthetic biology

Natural products

Genome mining and engineering strategies

Biosynthetic gene clusters


Junyang Wang

Beijing University of Chemical Technology

Jens B Nielsen

Chalmers, Biology and Biological Engineering, Systems and Synthetic Biology

BioInnovation Institute

Beijing University of Chemical Technology

Zihe Liu

Beijing University of Chemical Technology


2218-1989 (ISSN) 22181989 (eISSN)

Vol. 11 11 785

Subject Categories

Production Engineering, Human Work Science and Ergonomics

Other Mechanical Engineering






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