Characterization: Background

Quantitative and qualitative descriptions of devices in the form of standardized datasheet and graph are commonly used in engineering disciplines. These datasheet and graphs enable the engineers to make quick decision whether the device and part will meet the requirement of a system in which they might be used.

Synthetic biology, as an area of biological research and technology that combines biology and engineering, is about to design and construct biological devices and systems for useful purpose and usually involves standardized parts and devices. Thus we believe description of riboswitches’ behavior will be of great significance for future iGEM teams and synthetic biologists.

A crucial characteristic is Static Performance, which is about to measure the transfer function, details the relation between device input(s) and output(s) and allows prediction of the behavior of composed devices.

The Dynamic Performance, which reports the response time, is often required since our riboswitch will have to work with other devices in an overall system.

The third characteristic is Input Compatibility, which is intended to describe the behavior of our riboswitches when induced by some substances having similar structure with their own inducers and offer us a profound understanding of riboswitches.

In contrast with the Regional Jamboree, we added another criteria, Performance Reliability, for World Championship Jamboree. To establish a system that is able to run smoothly and continuously, the expected time to failure of a device or correct device performance over longer timescales, which is described with Performance Reliability, is urgently required.


Canton B, Labno A, Endy D. Refinement and standardization of synthetic biological parts and devices[J]. Nature biotechnology, 2008, 26(7): 787-793.