Gene synthesis is chemically in vitro synthesis of double-stranded DNA molecules. It is a technology used in biotechnology and plays an important role in the field of synthetic biology. The technology has become a significant tool in various fields of recombinant DNA technology including gene therapy, vaccine development, molecular engineering, and heterologous gene expression. It can help in designing novel enzymes for cancer treatment. Also, it can be used in diagnosis of viral genomes for vaccine development in real-time. Gene synthesis can develop mutated, recombinant, or entirely novel DNA sequences without any template DNA strand. Moreover, it can also synthesize, oligos and RNA containing modified bases or chimeric DNA-RNA backbones along with DNA sequences.
Custom gene synthesis derives from oligonucleotide synthesis technology and is the gold standard method for synthesis of PCR primers. Gene synthesis builds on this platform and uses exclusive technologies to join the oligos to synthesize full gene sequence. The price for custom gene synthesis was around US$ 0.69/base, earlier. Gene synthesis is a useful codon optimization tool to circumvent codon bias problems during heterologous protein expression. Protein expression can be improved considerably by designing DNA sequences with only codons preferred by the intended expression host.
Increasing R&D associated with gene synthesis coupled with continuous improvement in the technological processes such as molecular separation and protein purification technology helps in developing reliable, fast, and cost effective solutions. In recent years, gene synthesis has advanced with innovations in DNA as a data storage device and re-engineered genomes. Next-generation gene synthesis provides highly accurate constructs in greater numbers and at comparatively lower prices than has been possible so far.
Solid-phase synthesis is highly accurate, however, is an expensive process and offers low output. Chip-based DNA synthesis is less expensive than solid-phase method and can produce a large amount of the target gene, however, with less accuracy. PCR-based enzyme synthesis produces gene fragments with a variety of cell systems. It synthesizes long gene fragments with higher accuracy. Gene synthesis methods have a profound impact in vaccine design, genetic and metabolic engineering. However, currently available methods are inconsistent with drawbacks such as high error rate, low yield, and lack of scalability on the size of the gene and size of the project.
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Regional segmentation of gene synthesis market by Coherent Market Insights includes North America, Latin America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Middle East, and Africa. North America gene synthesis market is expected to hold a dominant position over the forecast period, due to increased demand from biopharmaceutical companies and academic institutes, coupled with presence of large number of industry players with strong distribution channel. For instance, in 2016, Twist Bioscience, revenue increased with US$ 61 million for scale-up and commercial operation of its silicon chip-based high throughput low-cost gene synthesis platform. Increasing R&D expenditure by pharmaceutical and biotech companies for up gradation of technology and production output is expected to drive growth of gene synthesis market in Europe. For instance, according to European Commission 2016 report, EU companies have significantly raised their investment in R&D, rising above the world’s average growth rate. Asia Pacific market is expected to exhibit the highest growth rate, owing to increasing investment by government and private organizations to support growth of synthetic biology. Japan is a leading Asian country in synthetic biology with more private companies participating in synthetic biology research.
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Major players operating in the gene synthesis market include Atum, ATDBio Ltd., Bioneer Corporation, Eurofins Scientific, Eurogentec, GenScript Biotech Corporation, Genewiz, Integrated DNA Technologies, Inc., OriGene Technologies, Inc., and Thermo Fisher Scientific, Inc. Companies are focusing on strengthening their sales force and expanding their production facilities in various geographies. For instance, in 2016, Eurofins Lancaster Laboratories (Eurofins Scientific), announced strategic plans for expansion of its Ireland campus, including development of a new building, expansion of its facility, and increase its workforce. The International Gene Synthesis Consortium (IGSC) is a group of gene synthesis organizations and companies that applies and designs a common method to screen sequences of synthetic gene orders. The group also works with international and national government organizations. Currently, the IGSC members together comprises around 80% of commercial gene synthesis capacity worldwide.