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   Human Practice Home


              *HGT Review
              *Proof of Concept
              *HGT Investigation


Development of synthetic biology are accelerating innovation across many research areas, from information processing to environmental monitoring, and from industrial productivity to breakthroughs in human health.[1] In the world of synthetic biology, scientists solve problems not merely depend on observation or analysis, but also the construction of biological systems and devices starting from DNA fragments and genetic circuits. [2]

However, people believe that biological security risks arise when considering synthetic biology and DNA recombinant technology. Particularly, whether horizontal gene transfer (HGT), need more awareness and governance of manipulation has been a debate for years since 1970s. In the human practice of PKU iGEM team this year, we make the review as well as the investigation relevant to this topic, trying to answer following questions about HGT:

1. Do most scientific researchers know what is HGT and how does it happen?

2. Do we have effective solution to detect HGT?

3. Can we efficiently eliminate the HGT and avoid potential risks?

4. What measures and attitude should we take when facing these problems?

Here, we review the studies of horizontal gene transfer and its current situation. Risks it might have, these hurdles and challenges currently represent would however be overcome by thorough realization and advances in science. Just like the saying goes, don’t throw out the baby along with the bath. We need thus to keep scientific researches on synthetic biology and its application activities moving on.


[1] Hans Bügl et al. DNA synthesis and biological security. Nature Biotechnology 25, 627 - 629 (2007) [2] Steven A. Benner & A. Michael Sismour. Synthetic biology. Nature Reviews Genetics 6, 533-543 (July 2005)

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