OpenPlant is a BBSCR-EPSRC funded synthetic biology centre across Cambridge and Norwich, researching and promoting open technologies for the emerging field of plant synthetic biology. The centre will produce open data and outputs to counter the restriction on innovation in the field caused by current IP practices and restrictive licensing. This is especially important as the scale of DNA systems grows and many modules and parts are incorporated combinatorially.
Over the next 5 years, OpenPlant will establish open source registries in the UK for synthetic DNA sequences and join a global web of registries to better share data and sequences arising from OpenPlant labs. Data from OpenPlant research that could have a much greater impact when openly shared includes information on the function of existing DNA parts, characteristics of the liverwort Marchantia (which is being established as a model system for plant synthetic biology), software tools to aid automation of lab techniques, software models, data from metabolic pathway engineering experiments and more. The initiative will not only make the digital data available - it is also exploring methods to openly share and distribute DNA libraries themselves in a low cost manner.