SA Perspectives: How to Kill Synthetic Biology; June 2006; Scientific American Magazine; by Staff Editor; 1 Page(s)
Thirty-three years after the invention of genesplicing, the reality of biotechnology is still far short of what many once dreamed it would be, partly because the tools for manipulating genes have been crude. That is about to change. As nine scientists explain in "Engineering Life," new "bio fab" approaches to assembling complete genetic circuits promise to advance biotechnology in much the same way that the invention of integrated circuits transfigured electronics. They should enable workers to reengineer cells more ambitiously, to create organisms programmed at the genetic level to behave as desired. Colossal payoffs could accrue to medicine, agriculture, manufacturing, energy production and other fields. It is the birth of synthetic biology.
But like every newborn, synthetic biology is still intensely vulnerable. There are many ways to kill this young science; here are just two: