Daniel G. Gibson, of the J. Craig Venter Institute, described a robust exonuclease-based method to assemble DNA seamlessly and in the correct order, eponymously known as Gibson Assembly. The reaction is carried out under isothermal conditions using three enzymatic activities: a 5’ exonuclease generates long overhangs, a polymerase fills in the gaps of the annealed single strand regions, and a DNA ligase seals the nicks of the annealed and filled-in gaps. This method has been widely adopted and is a major workhorse of synthetic biology projects worldwide. Applying this methodology, the 16.3 kb mouse mitochondrial genome was assembled from 600 overlapping 60-mers(1). In combination with in vivo assembly in yeast, Gibson Assembly was used to synthesize the 1.1 Mbp Mycoplasma mycoides genome. The synthesized genome was transplanted to a M. capricolum recipient cell, creating new self-replicating M. mycoides cells(2).
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