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What is synthetic biology?

Synthetic Biology (SynBio)

Synthetic biology (SynBio) has been defined as the design and engineering of biological elements, new devices and systems, as well as the redesign of existing natural biological systems (UK Synthetic Biology Roadmap).

However, synthetic biology has different meanings depending on who it is (Endy, D. (2005). Foundations for engineering biology. Nature, 438 (7067), 449-453):

– For biologists, building a synthetic biological system is a simple and compelling way to show that you understand the system.

– For chemists, synthetic biology is an extension of synthetic chemistry and the bottom-up manufacturing of new materials, drugs, fuels, etc.

– For engineers, biology is a new medium for human creativity that is currently in the process of standardization and characterization necessary for the rational design of new technologies.

For the uninitiated, the video below offers a good overview of the general principles involved:

Expect to see (and hear) more and more about this, as the WEF has created its own Global Future Council on Synthetic Biology. Do you dream of a new man, a man made to measure?

The next step is to create a synthetic human genome: The Genome Project: Write. Scientists are working to create synthetic human DNA. Scientists are aiming for 2026 for the first synthetic genome. These articles were published in 2016 but are still relevant today.

See also :

Biology and technological future of man: from synthetic biology to synthetic man
Should we synthesize a human genome?

What is synthetic biology? Credit: Getty

Art Documentary on Synthetic Biology (2012, French). Synthetic Biology: Earning a Living. “Anatomy of a new scientific revolution: synthetic biology, which should allow man to create life from synthetic DNA sequences”.

The specialists are unanimous: biology is undergoing a revolution as decisive as the discovery of DNA or the complete sequencing of the human genome. Synthetic biology should allow man in the medium term to become a demiurge, write partial or complete DNA sequences, and thus create life artificially. A perspective so new that it arouses vocations outside the laboratories themselves. In simple garages or sheds, “biohackers” can now assemble synthetic DNA sequences (via DNA cassettes or biological bricks available on the Internet). Perhaps they give life to new cells, or even whole organisms. Some experts ask the question bluntly: will man, for the first time, take control of the natural evolution of species? And if so, what will be the consequences for the most fragile ecosystems and the balance of living species?

Many players, including the largest laboratories, invest in synthetic biology in any case, even Bill Gates, who finances a colossal malaria program based on it. It is this ongoing revolution that this film wants to show for the first time, by going out to meet those who carry it.

See also :

Swiss Academy of Natural Sciences (SCNAT)
WEF: How can all the technological advances in synthetic biology benefit?
WEF: Lessons Learned from COVID-19 Vaccines Could Promote Synthetic Biology.
Hey! How the COVID-19 Outbreak Could Provide Synbio’s Breakthrough Moment
Global Future Council on Synthetic Biology

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