Synthetic biology and open-source applied biology have the potential to stimulate bioeconomic growth and address challenges in healthcare, agriculture, education and the environment in developing countries. A workshop on this subject was held in Pretoria and Bakubung, South Africa in February 2017, supported by the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF), a £1.5bn UK Research Council fund dedicated to the support of challenge-driven research in developing countries. Full details, a handbook and report can be found on the OpenPlant Website.

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CRISPR-based technology is fast emerging as a breakthrough for precise genome editing in a range of experimental systems. In order to highlight the current developments and future potential for using this technology in plants, an OpenPlant CRISPR/Cas9 workshop was held at the John Innes Centre in September 2015, co­funded by the Genomic  Arabidopsis Resource Network (GARNet) and sponsored by Methods in Plant Biology. A special collection of methods on Plant Genome Engineering was published in conjunction with the meeting report (Parry et al., 2016).




OpenPlant and the Synthetic Biology ERA-NET (ERASynBio) held a week-long workshop on synthetic biology in complex systems for students and postdoctoral researchers at the John Innes Centre in September 2013. The workshop was organised by Prof. Jim Haseloff, Prof. Anne Osbourn and Dr. Nicola Patron, with assistance from Dr. Andy Boyce and Ms Ruth Carmichael at BBSRC. A report on the workshop was published in New Phytologist.






Six animated videos (approximately 40 minutes) created by Nicola Patron and Chris Wilson, covering the background required to start using TypeIIS restriction endonucleases for parallel DNA assembly. The video workshop covers:

- How typeIIS restriction enzymes enable the one-pot reaction 
- How to easily and reliably assemble multiple standard parts in a single reaction 
- How to make new standard parts

Please note that although the background remains relevant, some of the practical laboratory details in these videos have since been improved. To download an laboratory protocol, please visit our Protocols Page.



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A one-day wet and dry-lab practical for post-graduate students hosted by The Sainsbury Laboratory (TSL) Norwich as part of the TSL Plant Microbe Interactions 2014 Summer School, focussed on DNA assembly, standards parts, designing genetic circuits and responsible innovation in plant biotechnology.