Introduction to SBOL

SBOL is…

An open standard for the representation of in silico biological designs.
SBOL provides a data format composed of genetic vocabulary terms called SBOL Data.
SBOL also provides schematic glyphs to graphically depict genetic designs called SBOL Visual.
SBOL is intended for users and software developers involved in the biology community and scientists working within a wet lab.


If you want to design genetic constructs and biological systems, you might want to look at the software tools that support SBOL.

SBOL-supporting tools ensures lossless data conversion when moving between tools. SBOL also allows you to describe more complex design information than traditional sequence representation of a genetic circuit.

Wet Lab

If you work in a wet lab, consider storing your genetic part and construct designs in the growing number of repositories that support SBOL to allow other researchers easy access and reuse of your designs in their projects.

Try having a look at the iGEM Registry of Standard Biological Parts, the Joint BioEnergy Institute’s Inventory of Composable Elements (ICE), SynBioHub, Benchling, and the Standard Virtual Parts Repository.

Software Development

If you are a software developer, you should consider adding SBOL support to your software using one of the SBOL libraries. Adding SBOL support to your software allows your tools to interoperate with the growing ecosystem of software tools that support SBOL.

Feature Request

You can propose your feature request to the SBOL data model or to SBOL visual glyphs by submitting an SEP to our Github repositories. Live discussions amongst the SBOL community is going on now! You can view and comment on the discussions by clicking on the open GitHub issues.

Weekly Update

Weekly Update

May 23rd, 2018

SBOL Workshop @ SEED 2018:

Scottsdale, AZ on Jun. 3rd – 7th

SEED is approaching and we are excited to see everyone who have registered for the SBOL workshop on June 7th. Up to date, we have over 100 attendees registered for the workshop. It isn’t too late to register for the workshop for those who are interested in attending but have not applied.


At this workshop, we will be having a variety of CAD tools presenting their take on how SBOL is used in their tool. So far, these are the tools that will be demoed at the workshop.

Repositories: SynBioHub and JBEI ICE
Design Tools: Cello, iBioSim, SBOLDesigner, and RBS Calculator
Test Tools: BOOST and TASBE


Oxford, UK on Jun. 18th – 22nd

We are a month in before HARMONY begins. For those who are attending (remotely or in person), please help us fill out the SBOL attendance survey linked below.


Other SBOL Workshops:

Mark your calendar! Here are a couple of workshops and conferences that we are planning on attending for this year. More information to come!

IWBDA: Berkeley, CA on Jul. 31st – Aug. 3rd

COMBINE: Boston, MA on Oct. 8th – 12th

iGEM: Boston, MA on Oct 24th – 28th

Tramy Nguyen
Nic Roehner
Curtis Madsen
Angel Goñi Moreno
Zach Palchick


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