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

June 13th, 2018

SBOL Workshop @ SEED 2018:

Scottsdale, AZ on June 7th

We would like to thank all attendees who were present at the SBOL workshop.
We had positive feedback about SBOL visual and the current support of the different type of SBOL visual glyphs.
Software tools that were presented at the workshop also had good feedbacks to help improve on their tool and how they support the SBOL data model and SBOL visual glyphs.
All presentations that were presented at the workshop are now available on our workshop agenda.


Oxford, UK on Jun. 18th – 22nd

Take a look at our full agenda to view the SBOL breakout sessions.
We will be sending out Google Hangout links to the sbol-dev and sbol-visual mailing list for those who would like to participate in the SBOL breakout sessions.
For those who are attending (remotely or in person), please help us fill out the SBOL attendance survey linked below.

  • Goals for meetings and future directions of SBOL
  • SBOL Data Model v2.2.1
  • SBOL paper and tool hacking
  • SBOL Visual v2.1
  • Encoding Experimental Data
  • Discussion on SBOL tool needs
  • SBOL data model v3.0


Berkeley, CA on Jul. 31st – Aug. 3rd

SBOL will be holding a workshop at this year’s IWBDA conference. At this workshop, we will be presenting talks and leading a hands-on session for SBOL developers. If you are interested to see how you can support SBOL, we welcome everyone in the community. Details on registration and agenda for the SBOL workshop will be announced soon!


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!

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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