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
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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 scratchRead more...
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 exposureRead more...
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 stimuliRead more...
Camena Bioscience raises $10m in series A for DNA synthesis technology
Longevity Technology - 10-Jul-2023
Highly accurate enzyme-based approach to advance the ability to read, write and manipulate DNARead more...
Penn State team develops protein-based nanocomputing agent to influence cell behaviour
Penn State College of Medicine - 26-May-2023
Paving the way for more targeted, efficient cell-based therapies to treat diseases like diabetes and cancerRead more...