Synthetic Biology

Precision Liquid Handling in Synthetic Biology Production

Discover how precision liquid handling revolutionizes synthetic biology production workflows by enhancing accuracy, efficiency, and reproducibility.

Synthetic biology involves generating or modifying biological systems using a multidisciplinary approach, with genetic modification and rearrangements as a core element. This field has revolutionized many industries, including healthcare, agriculture, and environmental protection1. Synthetic biology production has led to the emergence of new materials, medicines, and biofuels. For example, generating synthetic phages (viruses that attack bacteria) provides an alternative to antibiotics for combatting the rise of multidrug-resistant bacterial infections2.

Despite synthetic biology's promise, common pitfalls of biological workflows continue to hinder progress3. Modern research demands quick turnaround times and minimal time loss due to inaccuracies and inconsistencies in manual pipetting. This is especially true of workflows that require manipulating tiny volumes of biological materials that are prone to degradation and contamination. Slow workflows impede research goals and prolong the suffering of patients.

Fortunately, precision liquid handling technologies have risen to meet the demands of modern synthetic biology production. The I.DOT Liquid Handler streamlines synthetic biology workflows by providing an automated and accurate solution to these common challenges (Fig. 1). Here, we discuss how precision liquid handling with this new technology provides an optimal tool for streamlining research.

Figure 1. The I.DOT Liquid Handler facilitates fast, accurate, and automated workflows to streamline synthetic biology projects.

Learn more about the I.DOT Non-Contact Dispenser

Benefits of Precision Liquid Handling

Precision liquid handling involves the control and measurement of small liquid quantities, significantly enhancing resource efficiency, speed, and reproducibility4. This capability is a game-changer for biological workflows, which are traditionally plagued by prolonged manual pipetting tasks, which increase error and user injury.

Accuracy & Consistency

Accuracy is paramount in synthetic biology production. Precision liquid handling using the I.DOT Liquid Handler ensures accurate dispensing with volumes as low as 10 nL, allowing researchers to miniaturize their workflows and save money. Consistency within and across laboratories is essential for the biological research community, which has seen severe issues with replication in recent years. Sources of inconsistency include differences in protocols and workflow between different laboratories and human error5. Automated precision liquid handling helps to eliminate variability between users and institutions, significantly increasing the reliability of results and accelerating the global research effort.

Speed & Efficiency

Streamlined and scalable workflows mean researchers save time and resources when conducting their research. Errors due to inaccurate liquid handling, such as when performing manual pipetting, mean that expensive experiments must be repeated, and more of scientists' time is taken up with tedious pipetting. The scalability of precision liquid handling workflows, particularly those that use microfluidics, means that researchers can use up to ten times fewer reagents than recommended by vendors. This allows researchers to significantly reduce costs without sacrificing research output.


Precision liquid handling has a wide range of applications in synthetic biology production. Multiple stages of synthetic biology workflows require the accurate pipetting of tiny volumes, which incurs a high cost for potential errors. These stages include DNA manipulation, cell culture, and high-throughput screening.

DNA Manipulation

Accurate DNA manipulation is a central component of synthetic biology production6. Researchers edit genomes, integrate genes into preexisting chromosomes, and generate novel genetic constructs containing multiple genes. Precision liquid handling facilitates the processing of complex jobs involving many gene constructs, especially in processes like fragment preparation, preparation of the assembly reaction, and validation. By eliminating much of the need for manual intervention, liquid handling technologies, such as the I.DOT Liquid Handler, significantly reduce the chances of human error.

Cell Culture

Cell culture during synthetic biology production workflows is associated with many risks. Contamination with microorganisms or other cell lines generated in previous steps can lead to significant time loss, often necessitating the repetition of time-intensive transfection and selection processes. Precision liquid handling reduces contamination in cell culture while freeing researchers from arduous pipetting tasks. This gives researchers more confidence in the end product, meaning they can tackle the next step toward their research goal without worrying (Fig. 2).

Figure 2. Precision liquid handling allows for faster generation of modified cell lines in synthetic biology with reduced risk of contamination (Source).

High-Throughput Screening 

Modern biomedical research demands increasingly short timescales. To remain competitive, researchers must embrace streamlined processes such as high-throughput screening. Without precision liquid handling, large-scale studies are often too time-consuming and resource-intensive (not to mention error-prone) to be viable. Synthetic biology production workflows such as clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR) screening particularly benefit from precision liquid handling capabilities7,8.


Precision liquid handling has revolutionized synthetic biology production by removing inaccuracies and inefficiencies associated with manual pipetting. New technologies, like the I.DOT Liquid Handler, enhance resource efficiency, workflow speed, and reproducibility. This ensures confidence and accuracy in labor-intensive processes like DNA manipulation, cell culture, and high-throughput screening. These technologies streamline workflows, reduce costs, and accelerate research outcomes.

Ready to experience the future of precision liquid handling in your synthetic biology lab? 

DISPENDIX’s I.DOT Liquid Handler offers unmatched accuracy, speed, and ease of use for all your DNA assembly, cell culture, and high-throughput screening needs. Book a demo today to learn more about the I.DOT Non-Contact Dispenser and how it can revolutionize your synthetic biology production workflows!


  1. Venter JC, Glass JI, Hutchison CA, Vashee S. Synthetic chromosomes, genomes, viruses, and cells. Cell. 2022;185(15):2708-2724. doi:10.1016/j.cell.2022.06.046
  2. Strathdee SA, Hatfull GF, Mutalik VK, Schooley RT. Phage therapy: From biological mechanisms to future directions. Cell. 2023;186(1):17-31. doi:10.1016/j.cell.2022.11.017
  3. Gallup O, Ming H, Ellis T. Ten future challenges for synthetic biology. Engineering Biology. 2021;5(3):51-59. doi:10.1049/enb2.12011
  4. Silva TC, Eppink M, Ottens M. Automation and miniaturization: enabling tools for fast, high‐throughput process development in integrated continuous biomanufacturing. J of Chemical Tech & Biotech. 2022;97(9):2365-2375. doi:10.1002/jctb.6792
  5. Guan XL, Chang DPS, Mok ZX, Lee B. Assessing variations in manual pipetting: An under-investigated requirement of good laboratory practice. J Mass Spectrom Adv Clin Lab. 2023;30:25-29. doi:10.1016/j.jmsacl.2023.09.001
  6. Hughes RA, Ellington AD. Synthetic DNA Synthesis and Assembly: Putting the Synthetic in Synthetic Biology. Cold Spring Harb Perspect Biol. 2017;9(1):a023812. doi:10.1101/cshperspect.a023812
  7. Jeong SH, Lee HJ, Lee SJ. Recent Advances in CRISPR-Cas Technologies for Synthetic Biology. J Microbiol. 2023;61(1):13-36. doi:10.1007/s12275-022-00005-5
  8. Bock C, Datlinger P, Chardon F, et al. High-content CRISPR screening. Nat Rev Methods Primers. 2022;2(1):9. doi:10.1038/s43586-022-00098-7

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