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New Center for Synthetic Genomics

Applying and developing new technologies for DNA synthesis to pave the way for producing entire artificial genomes – that is the goal of a new interdisciplinary center that is being established at Heidelberg University, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), and Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU). The aim of the Center for Synthetic Genomics is to spark new developments in synthetic genomics through basic research and technology development using methods of artificial intelligence. The Carl Zeiss Foundation (CZS) is financing the center’s establishment over a period of six years with a total amount of twelve million euros.

The Carl Zeiss Foundation Center for Synthetic Genomics Heidelberg – Karlsruhe – Mainz started work in January 2024. Researchers collaborating at the three locations represent different disciplines, including biology, biochemistry, biophysics, biotechnology, synthetic biology, and bioengineering, as well as philosophy and law, genomics, immunology, epigenetics, virology, and data science. In addition, more international experts and early-career researchers are to be recruited to work at the new center. Furthermore, a competence center for the synthesis of synthetic DNA is to be set up in Heidelberg, the so-called CZS Center Synthetic DNA Accelerator Lab. Also involved in the CZS Center SynGen are scientists from the German Cancer Research Center and the Heidelberg Institute for Theoretical Studies, as well as external partners from science and business.

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