The Synthetic Biology Open Language (SBOL) Version 3: Simplified Data Exchange for Bioengineering

James Alastair McLaughlin, Jacob Beal, Göksel Mısırlı, Raik Grunberg, Bryan A. Bartley, James Scott-Brown, Prashant Vaidyanathan, Pedro Fontanarrosa, Ernst Oberortner, Anil Wipat, Thomas E. Gorochowski, Chris J. Myers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


The Synthetic Biology Open Language (SBOL) is a community-developed data standard that allows knowledge about biological designs to be captured using a machine-tractable, ontology-backed representation that is built using Semantic Web technologies. While early versions of SBOL focused only on the description of DNA-based components and their sub-components, SBOL can now be used to represent knowledge across multiple scales and throughout the entire synthetic biology workflow, from the specification of a single molecule or DNA fragment through to multicellular systems containing multiple interacting genetic circuits. The third major iteration of the SBOL standard, SBOL3, is an effort to streamline and simplify the underlying data model with a focus on real-world applications, based on experience from the deployment of SBOL in a variety of scientific and industrial settings. Here, we introduce the SBOL3 specification both in comparison to previous versions of SBOL and through practical examples of its use.
Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalFrontiers in Bioengineering and Biotechnology
StatePublished - Sep 11 2020

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2020-10-05
Acknowledgements: In addition to the listed authors, the development of SBOL3 has benefited greatly from discussions with many stakeholders throughout the user and developer community, including the SBOL developers mailing list, users and developers of the SBOL libraries and SBOL-enabled software tools, and the SBOL Industrial Consortium. Valuable support and guidance was also provided by members of the SBOL Editors and SBOL Steering Committee.


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