Building a Tissue Segment by Segment - Pushing the frontier of synthetic developmental biology
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The novel field of synthetic development arose from synthetic biology and developmental biology. The field aims to gain control over the developmental process and gain a general understanding of development while simultaneously creating tools with potential therapeutic uses. In the past decade, most research in the field has focused on simple isolated gene regulatory networks, which were rarely linked to morphogenesis. While there is ample room for researchers to explore these simple regulatory networks further, in this review, I want to push the frontier of synthetic development by proposing the pursuit of building a segmented elongated tissue. This would be the largest and most complex structure built using the principles of synthetic development. By exploring this pursuit, we can create a better perspective on what tools we need to develop and which ones we already have to create more complex tissues, in general. In particular, I will discuss module construction, linking modules, and computational tools. Overall, the ability to engineer complex tissues would open up the true potential of synthetic development.