Team:UNIK Copenhagen/About synthetic biology



Advances in molecular biology has enabled scientist to study and manipulate the parts that make up the cellular machinery. This has led to the discipline of synthetic biology where biological entities like DNA, RNA and proteins are not seen solely as their function in the cell, but also as an object with a function in various environments, a biological building block. Synthetic biology resembles an engineering discipline. Biological parts are used to design and construct novel biological devices and systems or re-design already naturally existing ones. The aim is to obtain new functions for useful purposes.

To use biological parts efficiently one has to understand all aspects of it. It is necessary to analyse and understand the biological machinery, and characterize function, activity, structure, regulation and molecular interactions. Furthermore, in order to combine biological parts, a broad range of tools is necessary. Therefore, synthetic biology is a highly multidisciplinary field including e.g. chemistry and nanotechnology, molecular biology, molecular neurobiology and biophysics.

The power of synthetic biology can lead to amazing new inventions, but the manipulation of life and creation of novel biological system raises ethical, societal and political issues that must be addressed. To read about our ethics profile click here In addition, synthetic biology also covers human outreach. Therefore, the field of synthetic biology also include areas as social science, humanities, legal science and communication science.