What Is Synthetic Biology?

Posted on 18 August 2015

Image Credit: Ivan Morozov (Virginia Bioinformatics Institute)

Image Credit: Ivan Morozov (Virginia Bioinformatics Institute)

Synthetic biology is radical and has huge potential to revolutionize multiple industries, creating biological machines that create novel compounds and even help build things for us. Engineered microorganisms like yeast and bacterial strains already produce thousands of compounds and drugs around the world and engineered viruses enable safe, effective gene therapy. The fact is biology has already worked out efficient ways of making things, or has in place mechanisms we can adapt. Why reinvent anything if we can simply copy and adapt? Using billions of years of evolution makes logical sense, and biological machinery can be extremely fast – often requiring minimal energy input.  Because this technology could have a wonderful impact on medicine as a whole, below is a great introductory video on Synthetic Biology by Grist, introducing the concepts and what we might be able to do in the future: See more at Grist’s youtube channel

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