Synthetic Biology can be seen as the engineering discipline of biology. Biological parts are combined to functional machines, or even combined with non-biological parts to form functional units.
These combinable and interchangeable biological units are called BioBricks, standardized parts developed with a view to building biological systems in living cells. These building blocks are conform to a restriction-enzyme assembly standard. They are used to design and assemble larger synthetic biological circuits from individual parts and combinations of parts with defined functions. BioBricks can be devided in three levels of hierachy:
1. Parts: Pieces of DNA that form a functional unit (e.g. promoters)
2. Devices: Collection set of BioBrick parts with defined function
3. System: Combination of a set of BioBrick devices
iGEM teams worldwide use BioBricks from a catalog of existing blocks (iGEM Registry) and interconnect them in the laboratory for the desired properties. New blocks are created in the predefined modular system and used by following generations of iGEM participants.
These BioBricks can fulfill very diverse functions. The possibilities given by the combination of the increasing number of BioBricks in this database are unbelievably versatile!