Synthetic Biology is a term that represents accelerating technologies that use modular tools across a wide range of disciplines as illustrated in the figure to the right. It focuses on designing, redesigning and building organisms or parts of organisms. It can be thought of as a biology-based “toolkit” that uses abstraction, standardization, and automated construction such as Crispr-Cas9 to define how we build biological systems. In terms of its contribution to society, synthetic biology can provide solutions to the challenges we are facing in our chemicals, consumer products, fuels, polymeric materials, agriculture, human health, animal health, flavors and fragrances, nutritional supplements, food ingredients, cosmetic additives, and our growing food requirements.
As an example of a specifically focused area: Synthetic biology can improve the efficiency and sustainability of food production by identifying improved and efficient ways of producing nutritional supplements, such as proteins, fragrances or flavoring agents, or increasing the efficiency of existing production systems. New techniques could also be developed to improve the production, shelf life and quality of food products while reducing the risk of using harmful chemicals.
Synthetic Biology is accelerating the development of products at bench scale. The challenge ahead is the scale-up, demonstration, and commercialization of products and this challenge can be addressed by the engagement of Lee Enterprises’ subject matter experts.