Synthetic biology — a new engineering approach to biology that lets us redesign cells — will revolutionize the future by allowing us to create things in laboratories that don’t exist in nature.
“Forget the ages of hardware and software. The next decades will bring the time of wetware, i.e. biology in its sophisticated form.
Synthetic biology allows us to create organisms or biological systems in a laboratory that do not exist in nature. This is done with the help of predetermined DNA sequences called BioBricks. With the help of synthetic biology, we could try to solve big global problems like diseases, climate change, and hunger.
A great example of this is how it could dramatically change food production. It is possible, for example, to grow various proteins in gene-edited cells. This could mean manufacturing egg protein or milk protein in so called ‘cell factories’ in bioreactors. As a result, the future may bring a time when we give up using animals in food production, and significantly decrease the emission of greenhouse gases.
Synthetic biology also has challenges, which are connected to the ethics of its use. As a technology with huge possibilities for good and unfortunately for bad, we should be extra careful how and why it is used in the future.”