Introduction to SBOL

What is 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 standardises data used by synthetic biology practitioners,  from users to software developers to wet lab biologists
  • A brief introduction to SBOL: IWBDA 2019 SBOL Workshop presentation and SEED 2018 SBOL presentation.
  • SBOL's GitHub repository.


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


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