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What is Synthetic Biology?

Not many people have heard of Synthetic Biology. Synthetic biology essentially aims to utilize natures tricks to design and build artificial biological systems for engineering purposes as well as a way to get a better understanding of why biological systems are set up as they are. The term “synthetic biology” was first used on genetically engineered bacteria that were created with recombinant DNA technology. Parts from natural biological systems are taken, characterized and simplified and used as a component of a highly unnatural, engineered, biological system. The term was then used when referring to when organic synthesis is used to generate artificial molecules that mimic natural molecules such as enzymes.

There are two types of synthetic biologists:
  • those who deal with re-designing and fabricating existing biological systems.
  • those who deal with designing and fabricating biological components that do not already exist in the real world.

Synthetic biology provides us with a new perspective from which we can understand and ultimately utilize life for our own benefits. [1,2,3]

For the second type of synthetic biologists, the foundation is to create and characterize ready made biological building parts that can be used in new applications. From the existing list of available biobricks from the partsregistry, it can be seen that currently these functionalities are limited to linear sensor reporter systems, as is the case for inverters, quorum sensing systems and traditional receptor/reporter systems[4]. On This Wiki we present our contribution to the development and characterization of standard biological parts, developed around the frame work of the iGEM competition.