RiAus PDplus: Synthetic Biology – Creating life in the lab
Biology is generally thought of as the study of living things and their interactions. But what if scientists had the power to actually alter living things in order to have them do new things? This is the basic idea behind synthetic biology – the alteration and creation of things that don’t exist in nature. And it’s a field that will change the way we use biology.
Synthetic biology is all about creating things that don’t currently exist naturally, or re-designing organisms and genomes to do different jobs. These jobs can range from creating medicines for humans to breaking down pollution in order to help clean up the environment. Synthetic biology is also involved in genetically modifying food in order to make it more nutritious or have it grow more efficiently. At the extreme end, synthetic biology can also result in the creation of entirely new, artificial life forms.
Live seminar featured Desmond Lun, from the Centre for Computational and Integrative Biology at Rutgers University, USA and Claudia Vickers, from the Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology at the University of Queensland.