Enzymatic Assembly of Small Synthetic Genes with Repetitive Elements

Michael T A Nguyen, Martin Vincent Gobry, Néstor Sampedro Vallina, Georgios Pothoulakis, Ebbe Sloth Andersen

Research output: Contribution to journal/Conference contribution in journal/Contribution to newspaperJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Gene synthesis efficiency has greatly improved in recent years but is limited when it comes to repetitive sequences, which results in synthesis failure or delays by DNA synthesis vendors. This represents a major obstacle for the development of synthetic biology since repetitive elements are increasingly being used in the design of genetic circuits and design of biomolecular nanostructures. Here, we describe a method for the assembly of small synthetic genes with repetitive elements: First, a gene of interest is split in silico into small synthons of up to 80 base pairs flanked by Golden-Gate-compatible overhangs. Then, synthons are made by oligo extension and finally assembled into a synthetic gene by Golden Gate Assembly. We demonstrate the method by constructing eight challenging genes with repetitive elements, e.g., multiple repeats of RNA aptamers and RNA origami scaffolds with multiple identical aptamers. The genes range in size from 133 to 456 base pairs and are assembled with fidelities of up to 87.5%. The method was developed to facilitate our own specific research but may be of general use for constructing challenging and repetitive genes and, thus, a valuable addition to the molecular cloning toolbox.

Original languageEnglish
JournalACS Synthetic Biology
Pages (from-to)963-968
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2024


  • Cloning, Molecular
  • Genes, Synthetic
  • Nanostructures/chemistry
  • RNA/chemistry
  • Repetitive Sequences, Nucleic Acid/genetics
  • Synthetic Biology/methods


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