Synthetic Biology 101

Some basic information about synthetic biology.

Mar 272015
 
Sacred vs. Synthetic: Competing Visions for Life on Earth

    Update: Watch the video of this event! April 14 @ 7:00 p.m. Impact Hub Oakland 2323 Broadway, Oakland, CA Synthetic biology – genetic engineering to create and control life – could radically impact our food systems, our environment, and our relationship with nature. What is “synbio” and how will it undermine traditional knowledge, livelihoods and society? Join us for a conversation about the false promise of synbio and the real solutions right here [More]

Oct 292014
 
What is Synthetic Biology?

Engineering Life and Livelihoods This short film explains the basics on synbio and its attempts to engineer life. You can also download and read the comic book that accompanies it here. Full script: So here’s a thought experiment. What if living things were actually machines? The sort of machines that you could take apart, reprogram, and rewire to do something entirely new? If so, plants could just be rewired to glow like light bulbs or [More]

Oct 082014
 
Synthetic Biology Could Open a Whole New Can of Worms

This article originally appeared at IPS News. by Desmond Brown PYEONGCHANG, Republic of Korea, Oct 7 2014 (IPS) – Haiti, the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, is the world’s leading producer of vetiver. In the southwest of the country, vetiver production is hard to ignore. Driving into Les Cayes, the largest town in the south, one is greeted by fields of vetiver on either side of the road. The same is true if driving from [More]

Jun 042014
 
Your Vanilla Ice Cream Is About to Get Weirder

This article originally appeared in Mother Jones. By Tom Philpott Wed Jun. 4, 2014 Synthetic biology—or “synbio” for short—is the stuff of science fiction brought to life. Whereas standard-issue biotechnology involves inserting a gene from one organism into another, synbio entails stuff like inserting computer-generated DNA sequences into living cells: i.e, creating new organisms altogether. And the technology has made a major breakthrough: A company called Evolva has managed to create a compound called vanillin—the [More]

May 062014
 
Synthetic Biology: Rebranding Extreme Genetic Engineering

By Jaydee Hanson, Senior Policy Analyst, Centre for Food Safety This article is reposted from the Centre for Food Safety web site. Some years ago, bread companies got the word that customers wanted more fiber in their bread. Instead of making more of their bread with whole grains, a few companies actually put in wood pulp and labeled it as “fiber”. Today, in San Francisco, a group of synthetic biology companies and a representative from [More]

May 152013
 
Synthetic Biology 101 Fact Sheets from Friends of the Earth

Download PDF: Synthetic Biology Fact Sheets In May 2010 J. Craig Venter’s company Synthetic Genomics announced that it had made the world’s first organism with a completely synthetic genome. According to Venter, this organism was the first self-replicating species on the planet whose entire biological makeup was created by a computer.1 While the field of synthetic biology has been growing at a tremendous rate, few in the public or policy spheres had ever heard of [More]

Mar 292013
 

Reposted from GENEWATCH March 29, 2013″ “Agriculture as we know it needs to disappear. …We can design better and healthier proteins than we get from nature.”   – J. Craig Venter1 A (very) short history of agriculture For ten thousand years humans have been manipulating plants for food production. This began at a very basic level, saving slips or seeds from the fastest growing, highest yielding, best tasting and most nutritious plants for the following season. [More]