August 2018
Vol 4, Issue 8

About The Cover

Cover image expansion

COVER The emergence of synthetic biology as a defining technology of the 21st century motivates the need to inspire and train a new generation of scientists. However, implementing hands-on biology practices in teaching environments is challenging because specialized equipment and expertise is needed to grow living cells. Collins et al. and Jewett et al.developed BioBits™ Bright and Explorer, two shelf-stable, "just-add-water," synthetic biology education kits enabled using freeze-dried cell-free (FD-CF) reactions. BioBits™ kits are designed to engage the sense of sight, smell, and touch, costing less than $100 per 30-student classroom. The kits establish a new educational paradigm for implementing FD-CF reactions for use in classrooms and other low-resource environments. [CREDIT: MEGAN BELTRAN]