Directed Evolution: Engineering Biocatalysts

Directed evolution paradigm starts with a lead enzyme, goes through mutagenesis, and then selection, to produce an evolved enzyme.

The two essential steps of directed evolution of enzymes are: (1) mutagenesis of the gene encoding enzyme, and (2) selection of a particular variant based on desired properties. (Image courtesy of Tom diCesare.)


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As Taught In

Spring 2008



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Course Description

Course Features

Course Description

Directed evolution has been used to produce enzymes with many unique properties. The technique of directed evolution comprises two essential steps: mutagenesis of the gene encoding the enzyme to produce a library of variants, and selection of a particular variant based on its desirable catalytic properties. In this course we will examine what kinds of enzymes are worth evolving and the strategies used for library generation and enzyme selection. We will focus on those enzymes that are used in the synthesis of drugs and in biotechnological applications.

This course is one of many Advanced Undergraduate Seminars offered by the Biology Department at MIT. These seminars are tailored for students with an interest in using primary research literature to discuss and learn about current biological research in a highly interactive setting. Many instructors of the Advanced Undergraduate Seminars are postdoctoral scientists with a strong interest in teaching.

Related Content

Kerry Love. 7.344 Directed Evolution: Engineering Biocatalysts. Spring 2008. Massachusetts Institute of Technology: MIT OpenCourseWare, License: Creative Commons BY-NC-SA.

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