Synthetic biology

Subject-matter

Synthetic biology is concerned with the synthesis of biological structures and systems that do not actually exist in Nature. There are basically three different ways of proceeding in synthetic biology. In the most radical of these, complex systems are built up, step by step, from completely synthetic molecules, such that the finished systems display certain basic properties of living systems (“biomimetic chemistry”). The other two strategies begin with living systems, as encountered in Nature, and attempt either to integrate artificial or natural systems into these and thus to endow them with new properties, or to delete existing systems by removing selected components that ultimately these systems in question are only just capable of life (“minimal organisms”).


       


                                                                                                                                 Copyright © 2010 COMPASS. All rights reserved

Photo: ⓒ Comstock Images/Comstock Images/Getty Images