Synthetic developmental biology: build and control multicellular systems

Mo R. Ebrahimkhani, Miki Ebisuya

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Synthetic biology offers a bottom–up engineering approach that intends to understand complex systems via design-build-test cycles. Embryonic development comprises complex processes that originate at the level of gene regulatory networks in a cell and emerge into collective cellular behaviors with multicellular forms and functions. Here, we review synthetic biology approaches to development that involve building de novo developmental trajectories or engineering control in stem cell-derived multicellular systems. The field of synthetic developmental biology is rapidly growing with the help of recent advances in artificial gene circuits, self-organizing organoids, and controllable tissue microenvironments. The outcome will be a blueprint to decode principles of morphogenesis and to create programmable organoids with novel designs or improved functions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9-15
Number of pages7
JournalCurrent Opinion in Chemical Biology
StatePublished - Oct 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Biochemistry


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