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Decoding Synthetic Biology
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Summary
A new generation of scientists, called synthetic biologists, is using genetic nuts and bolts to build new functions into living things. The possibilities abound. Imagine living cells acting as memory devices, or microbes that brew biofuels, or drugs that can save lives. Biology used as a technology to manufacture something – such as a chemical, a drug, a food or a material, necessitates that the living organism be reprogrammed.
Scientists have known about DNA – the molecular blueprint of life – since 1953. In order to build from this blueprint, to modify it, scientists need to be able to make genes (the building blocks of an organism) and then assemble them to change the genetic structure and functions of the organism.
Synthetic biologists can order specific sequences that they desire, and create sequences that would have taken scientists years to create in the past, but now only take days.
Keywords: Palo Alto, Drew Endy, DNA building, synthetic biologists, genetic nuts and bolts, living cells as memory devices, Stanford University, reprogramming organisms, Chris Voigt
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