OpenPlant Library of standard DNA parts

Workpackage B: Gene Assembly and Open Registries

As part of the OpenPlant initiative, we will (i) establish open-source DNA registries in the UK for sharing information, and join a web of registries with plant-chassis specific parts. (ii) We will explore new models for distributing plant DNAs and promoting quality control. There is a need to explore multi-tier strategies, as the field is moving quickly from physically defined BioBrick parts, to PCR-defined termini for end-linking, to software-defined parts for direct synthesis. We will establish a pilot scheme for open distribution within the OpenPlant project.


OpenPlant embraces state-of-the-art developments in rapid DNA assembly and is building a shared repository of standardised DNA parts across multiple plants, plus algae and cyanobacteria. This will consolidate access to the latest DNA parts for plant synthetic biology, such as improved marker genes, promoters and sensors. Most parts conform to the common syntax for plant synthetic biology (see DNA Assembly pages).


The PhytoBricks Standard - a common genetic syntax for exchange of DNA parts for plants was introduced in 2015 with wide support from the international plant science community (Patron et al. 2015). Agreement on a standard syntax for parts generated by OpenPlant provides a basis for tackling ongoing work on automated DNA assembly and the establishment of a central registry for plant parts. 

In addition, the inclusion of the standard as BioBricks Foundation RFC 106 as a collaborative output from the Cambridge, Valencia and Norwich Research Park iGEM teams led to i) acceptance of PhytoBricks parts in iGEM ii) the establishment of an inaugural Plant Prize at the 2016 iGEM competition iii) access to the iGEM Registry as a low cost, global method for description and distribution of PhytoBrick DNAs.

Details of the PhytoBrick standard and comprehensive instructions for how to synthesise and clone parts for distribution can now be found on the iGEM website.

Patron, Nicola J., et al. "Standards for plant synthetic biology: a common syntax for exchange of DNA parts." New Phytologist 208.1 (2015): 13-19.


Image: Jim Haseloff

Image: Jim Haseloff


MarpoDB is a gene-centric resource of Marchantia polymorpha Cam-1 genetic parts for engineering and plant synthetic biology.



INRA DIST  on Flickr, licensed under  CC-BY 2.0

INRA DIST on Flickr, licensed under CC-BY 2.0

Patron Lab on Addgene

Other PhytoBricks compliant plant parts are already being shared through the Addgene and a wider collection of parts from algae and cyanobacteria will also be added as OpenPlant progresses.



iGEM HQ on Flickr, licensed under CC-BY 2.0

iGEM HQ on Flickr, licensed under CC-BY 2.0

Phytobricks in the iGEM competition

The iGEM Registry now contains a number of plant PhytoBricks and assembly vectors in addition to a collection of plant parts from previous iGEM teams.



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