Synthetic bio(techno)logy: From bioengineers and cell factories

- Extract from the thematic dossier of -

Synthetic bio(techno)logy is a young and interdisciplinary research field in the life sciences, combining approaches from biology and engineering with the aim to construct biological systems with novel properties and functions. For many experts from science and industry the term "Synthetic Bio(techno)logy" means the logical development of molecular life sciences towards engineering.

Out of technological advances, this new branch of research has emerged. Scientists do not want to only analyze complex biological processes, but specifically design, copy or change in the laboratory. Like engineers, they go ahead and reprogram cells and biological systems or redesign them from scratch. Synthetic bio(techno)logy is today still basic research. However, it also opens up possibilities for biotechnological applications in the medium term - from diagnostics, vaccines and drugs to biosensors to biofuel. The dossier of gives an overview of current concepts and possible applications, of the social debate and the current development of synthetic bio(techno)logy.