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 scientist 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

Feb. 21st, 2018

SBOL Data:

In addition to Java and Javascript, we now have support for C/C++ and Python that implements the latest SBOL data model!

If you are a software developer and would like to try out these new features, click on the release links shown below. Links for installation instructions are also provided. If you are encountering bugs while using the new release, let us know and report your issues to our GitHub issue tracker.
C/C++ (libSBOL) : [Installation] [Release] [Bug Report]
Java (libSBOLj) : [Installation] [Release] [Bug Report]
JavaScript (sboljs) : [Installation ] [Release] [Bug Report]
Python (pySBOL) : [Installation] [Release] [Bug Report]

If you are curious to see what is in the SBOL data model 2.2, view the specification here.
For further questions regarding the implementation of these features, contact the Developers.

Google Summer of Code 2018:

News are out! NRNB has officially been accepted to this year’s GSoC program.
All SBOL projects posted on NRNB’s GitHub repository are available for students to apply for.
This year, we have four SBOL projects that have been proposed to this program.
Click here to have a look at the available SBOL projects.

Potential GSoC students should show their interest by reaching out to the mentors that are assigned to the proposed projects.
Students must write a proposal on the project that they wish to work on as a part of the application requirement.
To help get students started, NRNB has a proposal template that students should use to write up their proposal.

More information about this program can be found here.
News that are posted about this program can be found here.
Projects that are officially accepted into the program will be announced on Feb. 12th.
Student application begins on March 14th and closes on March 27th.
A full timeline of this year’s program can be found here.

SBOL Workshop @ SEED 2018:

Scottsdale, AZ on Jun. 3rd – 7th

To register for the following workshops, visit the links below:

[SBOL Workshop] [SEED]

SBOL will be holding a workshop at SEED on June 7th.
The SBOL workshop will be open to all SEED attendees.
Registration is required to attend the SBOL workshop.
Registration form is now open and will be free for all SEED attendees.
A registristration fee will be applied to non SEED attendees who wish to attend the SBOL workshop.
More information about what to expect at the SBOL workshop can be found here.

SBOL Visual:

Does your software tool support SBOL Visual 2.0.0 glyphs?
If so, let us know by e-mailing the SBOL Editors.
We would like to update our SBOL Applications webpage to inform our community on the latest tools that support SBOL Visual 2.0.0 glyphs.

If you support SBOL Visual glyphs in your software tool but have not updated to 2.0 glyphs, please consider doing so.
Unlike SBOL Visual 1.0.0, version 2.0 was expanded to include not only nucleic acid components but also molecular species and functional interactions as well.
To view and download SBOL Visual 2.0 glyphs, click here.
We provide sample visual glyphs supported in PDF, SVG, and PNG.
There is a Quick Introduction to SBOL Visual 2.0 that is provided here.

SBOL 2018 Workshops:

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

SEED: Scottsdale, AZ on Jun. 3rd – 7th

HARMONY: Oxford, UK on Jun. 18th – 22nd

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

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

iGEM: Boston, MA on Oct 24th – 28th

Robert Sidney Cox III
James McLaughlin
Tramy Nguyen
Nic Roehner
Curtis Madsen


We represent over 130+ members from 17 different countries, 42 institutions, and 28 different industries.

Join our diverse growing community to hear about our latest ongoing efforts!