Synthetic biology is a branch of biology which appeared in the twenty-first century and has developed rapidly in recent years. Compared with traditional biology, which studies the internal structure through dissecting life forms, synthetic biology has a totally converse researching direction. It establishes components from the most basic elements step by step. Genetic engineering aims at changing and transferring the gene of species into another one, while the aim of synthetic biology is to build an artificial biological system which runs as the circuit.
Synthetic biology is originally proposed to present genetic recombinant technology by Hobom B.. As the development of molecular systems biology, E. Kool has raised the concept again at the annual meeting of the American Chemical Society in 2000. And in 2003, it has been defined as the research of artificial biological systems that is based on the genetic engineering of systems biology. It is similar to the modern integrated construction engineering, which combines engineering principles and applicant methods together. Briefly, synthetic biology has its own special methodological basis. It connects genes into an integral “network” which allows cells to complete various tasks that envisaged by designers. Additionally, it can help inspectors to determine the location of biological weapons.
Current situation of synthetic biology
Nowadays, synthetic biology has developed in diversified directions. Some experts even raise a idea to make a cell robot which is equipped with a biochip so that the cell robot can detect and eliminate atherosclerosis that causes thrombus. Some researchers hold the opinion that synthetic biology can be made into a variety of bacteria to eliminate water pollution, remove garbage, and deal with nuclear wastes. Furthermore, some scientists even propose to make a biological machine for the purpose of detecting chemical and biological weapons. However, there are some cautious researchers believe that some potential dangers of synthetic biology still exist. Those dangers might subvert the traditional concept of nanotechnology and genetic engineering. At present, biological element has not been standardized, so the functionality and stability is difficult to predict, as well as its complexity.
Prospects of synthetic biology’s development
Synthetic biology will give rise to the next biotechnology revolution. Currently, scientists have already started constructing the genetic code, mainly trying to take advantage of synthetic genes to build new organisms. It is estimated that synthetic biology has excellent prospects in many areas, including new drugs, effective vaccines, and so on. Based on biology, synthetic technology can be helpful in the production of sustainable energy, so does the bioremediation of environmental pollution. Truly, synthetic biology is expected to make rapid progresses in the coming years. There is no doubt that the cell is a perfect design for the natural evolution, and synthetic biology is the logical consequence of this unique concept. Although various studies and experiments in synthetic biology are still in the infancy, this frontier science will be able to surprise people whether it is good or bad.