Biologists are often referred to as "natural engineers," and it's true that many of the discoveries in biology have applications outside of pure research. But synthetic biology is different from other branches of science because it involves engineering living cells (or at least manipulating their DNA). It's a relatively new field, but one that has already led to some groundbreaking discoveries. In this article we'll explain what synthetic biology is and how it works, why it matters, and where it's headed next!
Synthetic biology is an emerging area of science involving both engineering and biology. It is also a new way to make things that were not possible before. Synthetic biologists use synthetic DNA—a molecule consisting of four bases (A, C, G, T), which are the same as those found in nature—to create a sequence of these letters that does not occur naturally. The resulting DNA can then be inserted into living systems where it may perform functions never seen before.
Synthetic biology is a new field of study that aims to use engineering principles to create biological systems. This means that instead of studying the natural world, synthetic biologists design and build things in their labs.
In terms of size, cells are comparable with small electronic devices such as smartphones or even smaller than them (a virus would fit through your eye). Synthetic biologists can use these similarities between cells and electronic devices to help them understand how living organisms work and make them do what they want.
The field of synthetic biology officially kicked off in the early 2000s. But as we said above, scientists have been tinkering with cells for centuries.
Scientists started to get more serious about engineering bacteria and other microbes in the late 1970s. In fact, many people working on these projects called themselves "synthetic biologists" even if it was just their own personal label for what they did (and not a formal discipline). For example, Michael Hechtman at Columbia University has been working on bacterial genomes since 1978. And then there's George Church at Harvard University who started making DNA from scratch back in 1984!
These scientists were doing things like splicing genes together from different organisms or tweaking existing genetic code to see how it would affect certain traits like antibiotic resistance or photosynthesis efficiency—but they didn't call themselves "synthetic biologists."
The process of creating wine and cheese has been around since the days of ancient Greece and Rome. The word "synthetic" comes from the Greek word "syn," which means together or joined. Thus, synthetic biology is simply a method for joining things together in order to create new products or processes. In this sense, fermentation is another example of synthetic biology: humans have been using yeast to ferment sugar into alcohol for thousands of years—the process that gave rise to wine and beer as we know them today.
Fermentation is one way scientists are able to use synthetic biology right now, but there are many other applications that have yet to be explored fully.
The first ever genetically modified organism was created in 1973. It was a bacterium that was genetically engineered to produce insulin. Insulin is a hormone that helps regulate blood sugar levels in humans, but it can't be naturally produced by humans.
The bacterium was called E. coli, and it produces insulin by consuming glucose (a type of sugar) from the environment and turning it into human insulin through a process called fermentation.
DNA can be copied in a lab using something called polymerase chain reaction or PCR. The procedure requires a thermostable polymerase enzyme and some primers made from synthesized DNA.
The process begins by heating the DNA to denature its regular double helix structure, then cooling it enough to allow an enzyme called Taq polymerase to attach to the strands and begin replication of both strands as they cool down again.
When working with bacteria, scientists can create and test new bacterial cells with ease. Bacteria are easy to grow in the lab, which means that it is simple to produce a large number of them. In addition, if scientists have any questions about how their bacteria work, they can use genetic engineering techniques like genomic sequencing or gene knockouts to study the DNA of those bacteria. Finally, because bacteria multiply quickly (they double every 20 minutes), researchers can easily observe how their modified organisms behave over time by simply growing more cells!
You may think that yeast is just a fungus, and if you love to bake bread or make beer, you would be right. However, yeast can also be used as cell factories so long as they have been genetically engineered to do so. Yeast can make proteins that are very similar to human proteins, which makes them good candidates for vaccine production. They can also make plant-based products such as vanillin, resveratrol, artemisinin, taxol and rubber.
It turns out that scientists have been using yeast cells for many decades now as a way to produce pharmaceuticals because they are easy to work with in the lab and yield high amounts of product each time they divide (a process known as fermentation). Yeast has been used commercially by other companies like Genentech since the 1990s but it wasn't until recently that synthetic biologists began using them more often due to advances in genetic engineering technology."
The field of synthetic biology continues to grow rapidly, and may eventually lead to new medicines and biodegradable plastics that could help save the planet.
You've probably heard of genetic engineering, a form of science that involves altering or splicing genes in living organisms. The field of synthetic biology builds on this idea by introducing artificially designed DNA into living cells, but it's much more than just an alteration—it's a combination of engineering and biology. It allows scientists to create new things like medicines, fuels and plastics from scratch using information stored in DNA sequences (the building blocks for our genes).
Synthetic biology is an emerging field that’s rapidly growing in popularity. With the ability to create novel organisms and even synthetic life forms, scientists are able to use this technology for a variety of different purposes.