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The Synthetic Biology Open Language is an open representational standard for encoding biological designs. As this community has been growing, it has been trying to figure out a better way than FAQs to compile ongoing Q&A expert knowledge about how to use the standard for representing designs.

As a long-standing contributor on Academia.SE, it seems to me that Bioinformatics.SE might be a good place to start building up such a Q&A compilation, adding tags, etc. We would only want to do so if this community would find it to be on topic.

Examples of questions that might be asked would be:

  • How should I represent growth media in SBOL?
  • In SBOL, how do you distinguish a circular plasmid from linear DNA?
  • How do I represent a sequence deletion in SBOL?
  • Do I need to include intermediate gene products like mRNA in order to express a gene regulatory relationship in SBOL?

I had also considered Biology.SE and asked a meta question there, but have received an opinion that focus on representation would be too data-centric and not biological enough for that community. I do believe that here would be a better place for this than StackOverflow because the questions are more about structuring knowledge than about programming.

Bottom line: would Bioinformatics.SE be receptive to an influx of SBOL practitioners asking and answering questions about this topic?

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I think that sounds like a great idea. I doubt we currently have the expertise to answer such questions here, but if you bring in the experts who can answer as well as the folks needing help, then I don't see why not.

In principle, SBOL seems like it does indeed fall under the scope of computational biology and/or bioinformatics, and we can certainly handle a larger volume of questions than we have now. So yeah, assuming other people also agree, bring it on!

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