Tag Archives: Syntetic biology

Extreme Genetic Engineering: An Introduction to Synthetic Biology

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http://www.etcgroup.org/content/extreme-genetic-engineering-introduction-synthetic-biology
ETC Group Releases Report on Synthetic Biology
Submitted on 16 January 2007

“Genetic engineering is passĂ©,” said Pat Mooney, Executive Director of ETC Group. “Today, scientists aren’t just mapping genomes and manipulating genes, they’re building life from scratch – and they’re doing it in the absence of societal debate and regulatory oversight,” said Mooney.

Synbio – dubbed “genetic engineering on steroids” – is inspired by the convergence of nano-scale biology, computing and engineering. Using a laptop computer, published gene sequence information and mail-order synthetic DNA, just about anyone has the potential to construct genes or entire genomes from scratch (including those of lethal pathogens). Scientists predict that within 2-5 years it will be possible to synthesise any virus; the first de novo bacterium will make its debut in 2007; in 5-10 years simple bacterial genomes will be synthesised routinely and it will become no big deal to cobble together a designer genome, insert it into an empty bacterial cell and – voilĂ  – give birth to a living, self-replicating organism. Other synthetic biologists hope to reconfigure the genetic pathways of existing organisms to perform new functions – such as manufacturing high-value drugs or chemicals.

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