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July 10, 2014

Sustaining U.S. Leadership in BIOTECH

Synthetic biology is an emerging field of research that is developing faster, more precise methods to gain insight into basic questions in biology and to design and develop biological technologies to address societal needs. Biologists, engineers, and social scientists use synthetic biology to modify information content in cells, like reprogramming software in a computer. This involves computing, measurement, and decoding molecules that program cell activity, supported by the development of automated tools and standardized methods.

Biologists are investigating how synthetic biology can probe fundamental principles of biological systems, asking for example, "What are basic requirements for cell activity?" Engineers are using synthetic biology to sustainably biomanufacture new materials with advanced properties or chemicals historically made from petroleum, and to cultivate crop varieties that use less petroleum-based fertilizers.

Biologists, engineers, and social scientists use synthetic biology to address basic issues important to human health, such as, "What are the effects of potential drug candidates?" and "How could cells be reprogrammed to replace malfunctioning or damaged tissue?"

Join us as we discuss the challenges and promise of synthetic biology.

Credit: NSF

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