Better visual effects via FireFox ~~~

   Human Practice Home


              *HGT Review
              *Proof of Concept
              *HGT Investigation


Development of synthetic biology are accelerating the innovation in 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), needs to be monitored and governed has been debated for years since 1970s. In the human practice of PKU iGEM team this year, we reviewed previous documentation performed in-depth 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 relevant status-quo. Risks it might have, theseobstances and challenges currently exist would gradually be overcame by thorough realization and advances in science. Just like the saying goes, don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater; we need to keep advancing in the field of synthetic biology and utilize its outcome for the well-being of human health.


[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)

go back to top