We have decided to see if there is sufficient critical mass to start a complementary synthetic biology SE site (by analogy, "Electronics.SE" to this site's "Physics.SE"). If interested, please follow the proposal in Area51.
Update #2: The Area51 Synthetic Biology proposal is now in its commitment phase. Most of the community coming in are from outside of StackExchange, so we particularly want to invite experienced StackExchange folks to commit and be able to help show the newly-arriving experts the ropes!
Folks from iGEM are looking to either create or join a persistent Q&A resource for synthetic biology students needing help with protocols, genetic design, etc. Bringing a community to this site is one of the possible approaches under consideration.
I've been poking around this site the last few days, however, and most of the questions that I see here are of a much more popular science or "what's this thing in my back-yard" nature. I've also seen a rather negative response to what seemed to me a fairly straight-forward question about scale-up. Together these make me wonder whether this community would consider such questions to be de facto out of scope.
Would this site welcome an influx of technical questioners and answerers focused on the pragmatics of practicing synthetic biology?
Some potential example question titles:
- "GFPmut3, EGFP, sfGFP... does it matter which GFP I use?"
- "Failing to get colonies on a MoClo assembly. How to debug?"
- "If I adapted a sequence found in a paper, can I share it under the OpenMTA?"
- "Which assembly protocols are good to run on an OT-2?"
- "What do I need to do to adapt an E. coli part for B. subtilis?"
- "How can I express gRNA from a sensor using a Pol II promoter?"
- "Are there any high-throughput metabolite assays for plate readers?"
- "What are the most common sources of error in preparing cell-free extract?"
- "Why are my OD numbers going up rather than down when I titrate my calibrant?"
Added on 1/26: committee members would appreciate comments on the scope of these questions (assuming they had evidence of work, etc.):
- "I have attempted to simulate the growth of Vibrio natriegens on different media using dynamic FBA, but I'm not sure if the output I'm getting is biologically-relevant or if it's an issue with my code, can someone have a look at it for me?"
- "I have attempted to model the growth of Vibrio natriegens on different media as a system of ODEs, but I'm having some difficulty understanding the mathematical notation in this paper that did something similar, can someone help me?"
- "I want to model the growth of Vibrio natriegens on different media, would it be more appropriate to use a system of ODEs or dynamic FBA?"
- "I want to model the growth of Vibrio natriegens on different media, and have designed a system of ODEs. Is this more quickly solved in Python or Matlab?"
- "I'm want to integrate a DOE I ran to test different growth conditions in Vibrio natriegens with a system of differential algebraic equations that I have used to model my bioreactor, would Bayesian parameter estimation be applicable here?"
Would these also be appropriate here, or are they things that would have to go to Bioinformatics.SE or somewhere else?