Bottom-Up Synthetic Biology: Engineering in a Tinkerer’s World

  title={Bottom-Up Synthetic Biology: Engineering in a Tinkerer’s World},
  author={Petra Schwille},
  pages={1252 - 1254}
How synthetic can “synthetic biology” be? A literal interpretation of the name of this new life science discipline invokes expectations of the systematic construction of biological systems with cells being built module by module—from the bottom up. But can this possibly be achieved, taking into account the enormous complexity and redundancy of living systems, which distinguish them quite remarkably from design features that characterize human inventions? There are several recent developments in… 

Are we doing synthetic biology?

The state of the art on synthetic biology is reviewed and it is concluded that most research projects actually describe an extension of metabolic engineering, and the term synthetic biology should be used more sparingly.

Life by design: Philosophical perspectives on synthetic biology

A number of distinctive features of this emerging field in the constellation of bionanotechnologies are outlined, which insists on the variety of research agendas and strategies gathered under the umbrella “synthetic biology”.

Synthetic Biology-The Synthesis of Biology.

The in vitro design, synthesis, and transfer of complete genomes into host cells point to the future of synthetic biology: the creation of designer cells with tailored desirable properties for biomedicine and biotechnology.

Synthetic biology: advancing the design of diverse genetic systems.

This work states that while synthetic biology offers much promise in developing systems to address challenges faced in the fields of manufacturing, environment and sustainability, and health and medicine, the realization of this potential is currently limited by the diversity of available parts and effective design frameworks.

The Synthetic Nature of Biology

In this chapter, a brief history of synthetic biology is presented, followed by a description of its most prominent “tribes” and a proposition for categorising the various engineering approaches currently practiced in the field.

Synthetic Biology: A Challenge to Mechanical Explanations in Biology?

  • M. Morange
  • Biology
    Perspectives in biology and medicine
  • 2012
In their plans to modify organisms, synthetic biologists have contrasted engineering and tinkering. By drawing this contrast between their endeavors and what has happened during the evolution of

Divided we stand: splitting synthetic cells for their proliferation

The field is surveyed and potential routes that can be explored to accomplish the division of bottom-up designed synthetic cells are reviewed, covering a range of complexities from simple abiotic mechanisms involving splitting of lipid-membrane-encapsulated vesicles due to physical or chemical principles, to potential division mechanisms of synthetic cells that are based on prokaryotic division machineries.

Synthetic Biology: Diverse Layers of Live

A layer model is developed that helps to categorize subfields of synthetic biology along their operative procedures and based on the biological status of the organisms generated by synthetic biology.

Synthetic Biology as Late-Modern Technology

The thesis is that if there is any differentia specifica giving substance to the umbrella term “synthetic biology”, it is the idea of harnessing self-organization for engineering purposes, and it is shown that instabilities constitute the conditions and, hence, the technoscientific core of self- Organization.

Tools and applications in synthetic biology.




Synthetic Biology: Integrated Gene Circuits

A new generation of synthetic circuits that integrate more closely with endogenous cellular processes are being developed, providing fundamental insights into the regulatory architecture, dynamics, and evolution of genetic circuits and enabling new levels of control across diverse biological systems.

Synthetic biology: lessons from the history of synthetic organic chemistry

The history of synthetic chemistry offers a possible roadmap for the development and impact of synthetic biology, a nascent field in which the goal is to build novel biological systems.

Rewiring cells: synthetic biology as a tool to interrogate the organizational principles of living systems.

Recent work that uses synthetic biology approaches to investigate the organization and function of cellular networks are outlined, and a vision for a synthetic biology toolkit that could be used to interrogate the design principles of diverse systems is described.

Synthetic Biology Moving into the Clinic

Advances in the biomedical application of synthetic biology are highlighted and the field’s clinical potential is discussed.

Organization of Intracellular Reactions with Rationally Designed RNA Assemblies

Rationally designed RNA assemblies can thus be used to construct functional architectures in vivo and increased hydrogen output as a function of scaffold architecture.

Protein self-organization: lessons from the min system.

The current understanding of the mechanism of Min protein self-organization in vivo and in vitro is summarized and it is hypothesized that cooperative membrane binding and unbinding, e.g., as an energy-dependent switch, may act as an important regulatory mechanism for protein oscillations and pattern formation in the cell.

Foundations for engineering biology

  • D. Endy
  • Engineering, Biology
  • 2005
Vibrant, open research communities and strategic leadership are necessary to ensure that the development and application of biological technologies remains overwhelmingly constructive.

Synthesizing life : Paths to unforeseeable science & technology

Advances in directed evolution and membrane biophysics make the synthesis of simple living cells, if not yet foreseeable reality, an imaginable goal. Overcoming the many scientific challenges along

Biologists and Engineers Create a New Generation of Robots That Imitate Life

The goal is to create robots that can go where humans either can't go or where it is not safe to send them, such as the surfaces of other planets, the bowels of a burning building, or the risky confines of a minefield or a battlefield.

Spatiotemporal Control of Cell Signalling Using A Light-Switchable Protein Interaction

It is shown that light-gated translocation of the upstream activators of Rho-family GTPases, which control the actin cytoskeleton, can be used to precisely reshape and direct the cell morphology of mammalian cells.