The Use of Non-Canonical Amino Acids as a Novel Biocontainment Strategy

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Jourdan Witt


Advancements in synthetic biology have led to the use of genetically modified organisms in research and industrial fields. Bacteria were one of the first organisms to be genetically engineered due to their fast growth and simple genetics, and have emerged as a major scientific and commercial interest. For instance, modified commensal bacteria can be used as an oral delivery vector of therapeutics, or as probiotics to target specific pathogens in the gastrointestinal tract. The impact of the release of pathogens used in research or vaccine development could be catastrophic to the environment and public health. In addition, there is growing concern about using genetically modified organisms in open systems, as there is a possibility for unintentional proliferation into natural environments. Therefore, is imperative that the environmental safety of genetically modified organisms are addressed, and that adequate biocontainment mechanisms are developed.