Sensing the future of bio-informational engineering

Thomas A. Dixon*, Thomas C. Williams, Isak S. Pretorius

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)
43 Downloads (Pure)


The practices of synthetic biology are being integrated into ‘multiscale’ designs enabling two-way communication across organic and inorganic information substrates in biological, digital and cyber-physical system integrations. Novel applications of ‘bio-informational’ engineering will arise in environmental monitoring, precision agriculture, precision medicine and next-generation biomanufacturing. Potential developments include sentinel plants for environmental monitoring and autonomous bioreactors that respond to biosensor signaling. As bio-informational understanding progresses, both natural and engineered biological systems will need to be reimagined as cyber-physical architectures. We propose that a multiple length scale taxonomy will assist in rationalizing and enabling this transformative development in engineering biology.

Original languageEnglish
Article number388
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalNature Communications
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jan 2021

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2021. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


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