Engineering life: The emerging field of synthetic biology

Synthetic biology is a new, rapidly developing and potentially controversial area of interdisciplinary research.

Engineering life: The emerging field of synthetic biology

A quantitative field that aims to design, model and construct new biological systems to carry out novel tasks, synthetic biology takes a rigorous engineering approach to biological systems.

Researchers suggest that this emerging field could offer societal, medical and environmental benefits. However, the ethical and social implications are considerable, and there is an ongoing discussion regarding whether current regulations are sufficient to address all potential outcomes of work in this area.

Scientists from engineering, physics, chemistry and biology are increasingly engaged in synthetic biology. For synthetic biology research and industry to flourish in the UK, research capacity, education and training need considerable expansion.