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Synthetic Biology

SynBio aims to create new biological components that don’t exist in nature – either from scratch or redesigning natural parts. Whether to start afresh or start with something that already works splits the two approaches to synthetic biology:

  • bottom up – using manufactured biomolecular components and synthesising them into living structures
  • top down – giving new, or novel, functions to already living cells using genetic engineering

Although evolution has created some amazing machines, at every level from proteins to mammals, it is unguided and therefore may have missed opportunities whilst it was just trying to survive in the harsh environment.

Examples of applications within healthcare and life extension include:

  • cell transformation – improving the function of existing cells with human designed gene circuits and organelles
  • designer proteins – instead of improving the processes natural proteins take part in, it’s possible to improve the design of the proteins themselves
  • drug delivery – building logic into bacteria allowing better targeting of pharmaceuticals, therefore reducing some of their side-effects (a synthetic call LOCKR has already been designed to provide this sort of logic)
  • biosensors – e.g. using modified bacteria to detect and report on infections

Synthetic Biology News

Scientists overcome hurdles to design human artificial chromosomes

Singularity Hub - 26-Mar-2024

New technique delivers more genetic material, paving way for safer & effective gene therapies


Scientists have created a new strain of yeast with over half of its DNA synthetic

Nature - 08-Nov-2023

Opening up the possibility of engineering complex organisms from scratch


Scientists have created a special type of melanin that can heal skin wounds

Northwestern University - 02-Nov-2023

Also shields skin from sun damage, environmental toxins, and radiation exposure


New proteins with shapeshifting abilities could transform biotechnology

Singularity Hub - 22-Aug-2023

AI can now design proteins that change shape in response to external stimuli

More Synthetic Biology News

Synthetic Biology Resources

Click on resource name for more details.

The Emergence of Life: From Chemical Origins to Synthetic Biology


The book gives an exhaustive treatment of the biophysical properties of vesicles written by Pier Luigi Luisi

Life at the Speed of Light: From the Double Helix to the Dawn of Digital Life


Book about synthetic genomics written by J. Craig Venter

Hacking Darwin: Genetic Engineering and the Future of Humanity


Explores how the genetic revolution will transform us, our species and our world

Cobra Biologics

Company that is providing a biologics and pharmaceuticals services


Nuclera makes biology accessible through desktop enzymatic protein and gene synthesis

Human cell coding company

More Synthetic Biology resources