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What is Synthetic Biology?

Natural biological systems process information, materials, and energy. Our understanding of these systems is rapidly advancing. Unfortunately our ability to use biology as a technology to process information, materials, and energy as we desire is limited by our understanding. To circumvent these limits, a field of study is emerging based on intentional engineering of biological systems.This Synthetic Biology is focused on the intentional design of artificial biological systems, rather than on the understanding of natural biology. It builds on our current understanding while simplifying some of the complex interactions characteristic of natural biology.

Relevant Research Areas

(all topics areas have an implicit requirement of being biological in some fashion)


Biochemical or genetic network design
Energy sources
Parts fabrication, characterization, assembly
Network analysis
Biomaterials
Biomimetics
Computation using biological components
Design principles of systems and networks
Device physics
Directed evolution and evolutionary optimization strategies
Information processing and control theory
Microfluidics
Molecular machines
Modeling of synthetic systems
Noise in systems and components
Organism engineering
Programmable organisms or systems
Protein engineering
Quantitative measurement techniques
Reporters
Sensors and actuators
Single molecule manipulation and/or measurement methods


Please consider this list as only a guideline for areas pertinent to Synthetic Biology. As this is an emerging field, there are likely many research fields of interest to this community that are not listed here. Similarly there are many research areas that may fall under these topics but are not pertinent to the goals of Synthetic Biology.

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