Biotechnology and Bioprocess Engineering 2020; 25(6): 955-961  
Cell-free Systems: Recent Advances and Future Outlook
Jamin Koo, Jiho Yang, and Hyunjun Park
Jamin Koo*, Jiho Yang, Hyunjun Park
Department of Chemical Engineering, Hongik University, Seoul 04066, Korea
Tel: +82-2-320-3006
Received: January 12, 2020; Revised: May 6, 2020; Accepted: May 8, 2020; Published online: December 31, 2020.
© The Korean Society for Biotechnology and Bioengineering. All rights reserved.

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Cell-free systems utilize a subset of cellular components without intact cell wall and/or membranes. The system was first invented for use in fermentation. Subsequent improvements enabled its application in protein synthesis, which is still the most common use of the system. Lately, attempts have been reported where metabolic engineering concepts and techniques were applied to cell-free systems and/or vice-versa. These attempts and advances led to exciting discoveries about biochemical reactions, as well as properties and/or structures of cellular components that make up complex biological systems. This review will first provide a basic overview and brief history of the cell-free system. Then, explanation on recent advances in the field will be provided, followed by notes on the innovative applications. Future outlook of the field will also be covered with the emphasis on how the emerging data science methods can be applied to improve the system and its applicability.
Keywords: cell-free, protein synthesis, metabolic engineering, artificial intelligence, unnatural amino acids

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