Universiteit Leiden

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Research project

TARGETBIO: Transmission of Antimicrobial Resistance Genes and Engineered DNA from Transgenic Biosystems in Nature

This project aims to assess the risk of spread of antimicrobial resistance genes in the environment derived from currently used synthetic biology approaches in the field of drug discovery.

2017 - 2022
Gilles van Wezel

Mark van Loosdrecht, Delft University of Technology


Microbial cell factories are used at large scale for the production of drugs, food and chemicals. Classically, such organisms were engineered by genetic modification. However, the technology has advanced to the level where we are now able to synthesize and design entire genomes from scratch, which can be introduced into cells to give rise to entirely new life forms. While this creates exciting new opportunities, little is known about the risk when such synthetic DNA is released into the environment. This proposal will help in developing risk assessment procedures and the development of fact-based legislation in order to prevent the spread of foreign DNA in the environment.

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