Evolutionary biotechnology

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In evolutionary biotechnology the principles of natural evolution are harnessed in a goal-directed way to the synthesis of active biological substances. On the one hand, this route can lead to new substances that would never survive in the wild, as they would rapidly be converted to other substances. On the other hand, this methods allows existing biomolecules to be optimised still further. The advantage of evolutionary biotechnology lies in the fact that in artificial evolution – unlike natural evolution – the processes of reproduction, variation and selection can be uncoupled from one another and can be technically manipulated.

Evolutionary biotechnology does not require “natural” material, and it is independent of the functional apparatus of the living cell or organism. Ultimately, it is no more than “applied molecular evolution”, made to take place under controlled laboratory conditions and steered by the application of the results of biological information theory.

Evolutionary biotechnology is based upon the ground-breaking work of Sol Spiegelman, Manfred Eigen, Gerald Joyce and others. It were Eigen and his colleagues who developed the first “evolution reactor”.  

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