Nature News has an excellent article about the hype, the challenges, and the potential of synthetic biology. The article quotes Martin Fussenegger, a leader in mammalian cell synthetic biology as saying "The field has had its hype phase, now it needs to deliver." In order to do so researchers will have to overcome five main challenges:
- Many of the parts are undefined
- The circuitry is unpredictable
- The complexity is unwieldy
- Many parts are incompatible
- Variability crashes the system
The article is a great read, and includes interviews with many of the big names in the field, as well as some lowly grad students like me, so check it out!
lowly grad student.. heh ^^
when/how did you start getting interested in synthetic biology? i see you co-mentored the harvard igem team in 2008- did you also participate as an undergrad?
I started getting interested in synthetic biology when I started grad school in 2006 (I hadn't heard of it before then and my college still doesn't have an iGEM team). I got into it because it was the most exciting thing I heard from any of the professors trying to woo students into their labs during orientation!
Don't you think that the title could be Five hard truths for biology considering these are general properties of any biological system, synthetic or natural.
I got into it because it was the most exciting thing I heard from any of the professors trying to woo students into their labs during orientation!
i can so sympathize with that :DDD
ehh, 2010 will see my first igem participation, but im already hooked for about a year and now my beloved scienceblogs.com gets a synbio blogger! good times ;)
I would love to read the Nature article, but you have to pay for it.