Reporters and the ‘print’ function

No, I’m not talking about the mass media.

Rather, I’m talking about reporter genes in synthetic gene circuits, and the ‘print’ function present in most programming languages.

Recently, I took to picking up Python. So I installed Python on my computer, grabbed the python IDLE, and started trying my hand at it using Google’s Python Class.

As I was building code to complete the exercises present on the Python Class website, I found myself constantly typing “print _____________”, as if to figure out what some of the method calls did.

By analogy, each time we add in a reporter gene to a layer on a synthetic gene circuit, we are essentially calling a “print” function – a human-readable or machine-measurable parameter of the system.

Of course, it takes much longer to go from idea to circuit to testing (~2-3 weeks), compared to the 2-3 seconds it takes to compile a simple program and provide the outputs…

One thought on “Reporters and the ‘print’ function

  1. A note on python. I use eclipse as my environment for coding and debugging. That saves you many “print ______” and makes everything easier to read too.

    Besides the reporter genes, I wonder what can we do with syn bio for an easier debugging environment.

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