What type of projects are likely to be successful in the Digital Biology Network?

Easy to build -- The metabolic pathway being created is uncomplicated and well documented. Genetic code in genbank or BioBrick parts should be available. Your project should be accomplishable in weeks, not years.

Stick with bacteria -- Unless you have expertise in genetically engineering other organisms, stick with E. coli.. Bacterial cells are easy to work with, have straighforward genetic architectures, take up DNA easily, and are highly fault tolerant.

Keep it small -- The cost of synthesizing DNA remains high -- somewhere about $0.60 per base. A 10 kb construct is will cost $6,000, not unreasonable for a genetic engineering project, but chances are it's not going to work properly first time. This means modularizing the components and doing some laboratory assembly, or working with a very simple circuit.

Choose a high impact project -- The project should be appealing with either the general public (eg. an organism or biomolecule that has clear benefit to people) or to a particular industry, preferably a large one. Why? Because DBN projects will need to attract sponsorship for development funds. If you can't solicit the public to support your work with small donations or find an industrial partner to underwrite the project, it probably won't be developed.

Easy to pitch -- Projects geared to be appealing to the general public should be easily understandable by the public, eg. you are working to cure baldness or toenail fungus. Don't laugh. Either of these projects would attract widespread support from the public and probably some pharma interest.