Health: A Synthetic Biology Revolution

 The Story:

The world is witnessing a revolution in the bio-medical sciences. The cost to design and produce bioengineered cells has fallen, and the lowered cost has opened up new opportunities for treatment. Some of the vaccines that were so rapidly developed and deployed against the Covid-19 virus are themselves an example of this new “synthetic biology.” But there are many other examples that haven’t been quite so central in the public consciousness of late.


Scientists have already synthesized several gene circuits in mammalian cells, with plans for their use either in the treatment or, eventually, in the outright elimination of a number of genetic disorders in humans.

The term “gene circuits” itself shows the degree to which synthetic biology borrows from computer science.

In Pill Form:

A great physicist, Richard Feynman, once said, “What I cannot create I do not understand.” This is cited by many who work in the field of synthetic biology as the inspiration for their own work. As we learn as a species to take apart, and put back together again, the basic building blocks of life itself we come to understand life, the treats to it (viruses, cancerous cells, etc.) and the prospects for answering those threats, in ways we never could before.

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