Biomolecular Breadboards:Protocols

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Cell-free circuit breadboard

The main protocols for the cell-free circuit breadboard are described here:

The following older protocols are also available for the cell-free circuit breadboard:

We are the in the process of publishing a paper in the Journal of Visualized Experiments (JoVE) that describes this protocol in much more detail. The JoVE paper will be an open access paper. If you would like a preprint, contact Richard Murray.


The cell-free circuit breadboard can be captured inside phospholipid vesicles, as described in Noireaux, V. & Libchaber, A. (2004) A vesicle bioreactor as a step toward an artificial cell. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. 101, 17669–17674. The protocol is availalble here.

Cost estimate

The cell-free circuit breadboard costs approximately 2.64 cents per uL, or 31.7 cents per 12 uL reaction. The cost distribution is shown in the table below.

Component Material price per

μL of reaction

Labor price per

μL of reaction

Total price per

μL of reaction

Total price per

12 μL reaction

E. coli crude extract 0.45 cents 0.62 cents 1.07 cents 12.84 cents
Amino acids 0.21 cents 0.03 cents 0.24 cents 2.93 cents
3-PGA 0.39 cents 0.94 cents 1.33 cents 15.96 cents
Total price 1.05 cents 1.6 cents 2.64 cents 31.7 cents

For a more detailed cost estimate, please see Breadboard Cost Estimate.

Design Cycle Time Analysis

Circuit Assembly time
In vitro testing
(linear DNA)
In vitro testing
(multiple plasmids)
In vitro testing
(single plasmid)
In vivo testing
(single plasmid)
Negatively autoregulated gene 6.5 hours N/A 3 days 3 days*
Bistable switch 6.5 hours* 3 days 5 days* 5+ days*

* Estimated time based on similar constructions. All other times are measured.

For a more detailed description, please see Breadboard Cycle Time Measurements.

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