DNA Assembly in 3D Printed Fluidics

William G. Patrick, Alec A. K. Nielsen, Steven J. Keating, Taylor J. Levy, Che­Wei Wang, Jaime J. Rivera, Octavio Mondragón­Palomino, Peter A. Carr, Christopher A. Voigt, Neri Oxman, David S. Kong


The process of connecting genetic parts—DNA assembly—is a foundational technology for synthetic biology. Microfluidics present an attractive solution for minimizing use of costly reagents, enabling multiplexed reactions, and automating protocols by integrating multiple protocol steps. However, microfluidics fabrication and operation can be expensive and requires expertise, limiting access to the technology. With advances in commodity digital fabrication tools, it is now possible to directly print fluidic devices and supporting hardware. 3D printed micro- and millifluidic devices are inexpensive, easy to make and quick to produce. We demonstrate Golden Gate DNA assembly in 3D-printed fluidics with reaction volumes as small as 490 nL, channel widths as fine as 220 microns, and per unit part costs ranging from $0.61 to $5.71. A 3D-printed syringe pump with an accompanying programmable software interface was designed and fabricated to operate the devices. Quick turnaround and inexpensive materials allowed for rapid exploration of device parameters, demonstrating a manufacturing paradigm for designing and fabricating hardware for synthetic biology.

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