Synthetic biology is a rapidly growing field that attempts to build synthetic organisms and systems using engineering principles. The goal of this field is to create new living things and organisms that do not exist in nature or copy existing biological systems for human applications. Traditional biology is a branch of biology that focuses on the study and classification of living organisms.
The key difference between synthetic biology and traditional biology is that in synthetic biology, researchers can make changes in the DNA of organisms by altering their structure or function, while traditional biology relies on observing and experimenting with the existing structure of an organism. Synthetic biology has the potential to revolutionize many aspects of our lives and has many potential benefits, such as producing more fuel from renewable sources or producing drugs more efficiently, but it also has potential risks, such as the possibility of new organisms being used as weapons or affecting ecosystems in unpredictable ways.
Regulatory policy related to synthetic biology is complex and evolving. There are concerns about how synthetic biology products should be regulated and the potential risks of engineered organisms entering the environment or food supply. In the United States, synthetic biology is regulated by both federal and state agencies through the FDA and EPA, while in the European Union, existing regulations for GMOs are used.
Scientists and researchers in synthetic biology have a responsibility to conduct their research ethically and responsibly, in accordance with guidelines set by professional organizations and institutions. These organizations also work to develop a code of conduct for synthetic biology research, and international efforts such as the Convention on Biological Diversity aim to regulate synthetic biology in a safe and responsible manner.
Synthetic biology, which involves the manipulation and engineering of living organisms, has the potential to revolutionize a number of industries, such as medicine, and change daily life by creating new, highly specific diagnostic tests, treatments and therapies at scale. There are ethical and societal implications that may arise with its advancements, and governance will be needed to regulate it.
Synthetic biology has the potential to generate $4 trillion of direct global impact over the next 10-20 years, and 60% of physical inputs to global economies could be produced using synthetic biology. The field of quantum computing is also expected to play a significant role in synthetic biology by accelerating certain computationally intensive tasks such as protein folding and drug discovery. AI plays an important role in synthetic biology by developing predictive models and simulations, analyzing data, and automating laboratory processes.
This is a short summary of an in-depth article on Synthetic Biology, which you can find here.