There are many benefits to being able to order a synthetic gene, as it allows one to take a sequence found in nature and optimize it for a particular use, e.g. to increase expression of a protein in a particular system such as bacteria. GENEART, based in Regensburg, Bavaria, is a world leader in providing DNA-based technologies and services. Their Gene Synthesis Service has been operational since 1999 and to date they have produced more than 15,000 genes for both industrial and academic customers.
GENEART has developed technology which enables fast and automated synthesis of genes from less than 100 up to 20,000 base pairs. The entire Gene Synthesis Service includes optimization of a sequence to your desired parameters, assembly of the sequence into a synthetic gene, sequence analysis to ensure it is correct, and shipping complete with quality assurance documentation. The progress of each synthesis can be viewed online via their GeneObserver™ tracking system. Synthesis and shipping of a gene can take as little as 10 business days, and they also offer a fast delivery package which promises to take 4 working days off any order. Features of the Gene Synthesis Service include obligation-free quotes, complete confidentiality and protection of your data, and ISO certified synthesis. GENEART also offer help with non-standard gene synthesis for genes with high GC sequences, very large or small genes and sequences with internal repeats.
The company uses an in-house software tool called GeneOptimizer™ to perform the optimization. When given a raw sequence, this software first checks and alters the codon usage where necessary, depending on the codon table or tables specified by the customer. Next, other factors such as GC content are optimized, and the sequence is changed to remove factors that are known to reduce expression, such as poly A sites, splice sites and regions that promote RNA secondary structure. At the same time, it is possible to incorporate changes to aid downstream research by introducing mutations or restriction sites and even combine functional domains. It should be noted that although every effort is made by GENEART to optimize your sequence as you desire, it is not possible for them to guarantee an increase in expression, as this depends on many factors outside their control.
Our laboratory has used GENART several times in the past two years to produce codon-optimized genes for high level expression in a number of systems (baculovirus, bacteria and mammalian cells). The gene products we have received have been assembled correctly and were shipped reasonably quickly, given the distance from Europe to Australia. We were extremely impressed by the personal attention and advice provided by the company, particularly in the beginning, with the free quote and sequence analysis which is handled via the web. Rather than being treated like a number in the system, we communicated directly with a regional representative. In terms of price, while not the cheapest company per base pair, we believe that the attention to detail provided by GENEART is worth the cost.