Understanding synthetic biology

What is Synthetic Biology?

Synthetic biology is essentially the application of engineering principles to biology. It involves the design and construction of biological systems and devices, as well as the re-design of existing, natural biological systems, usually based on DNA-encoded componentry, and their application for useful purposes. Components include DNA, RNA, and proteins (commonly enzymes); these are used to build genetic circuits encoding cellular machinery, which may be applied either in vivo (inside cells) or ex vivo (in test tubes or other non-cellular environments). It is a highly interdisciplinary science, drawing on biology, engineering, and computer science, as well as many other fields, and has potential applications in areas as diverse as manufacturing, human health, agriculture and protecting ecosystems. Working definition of ‘synthetic biology’: The design and construction of DNA-encoded parts, devices, machines, and organisms; and their application for useful purposes.

Information about Synthetic Biology and gene technologies

Video resources

Scinamation: Synthetic Biology

An RiAus animation funded by the Australian Government explaining what Synthetic Biology is:

Introduction to Synthetic Biology and Metabolic Engineering

SynBio FSP International Advisory Panel member, Assoc. Professor Kristala Prather (MIT), explains how Synthetic Biology applies engineering principles to biological systems.