By Rich Jones
Synthetic Biology explores the use of engineering principles to modify organisms. However, the ultimate goal of this practice is not only to modify organisms, but to create them.
It is still the subject of debate as to what constitutes a totally artificial cell, but this exhibition is timely in that it follows the breakthrough creation of a minimal synthetic cell at the J. Craig Venter Institute in California earlier this year. New functionalities in this field could lead to applications such as detection and treatment of cancerous tumors, production of fuel and drugs, and even the recreation of extinct species.
The potential of synthetic biology is becoming increasingly more evident. Innovations in this area are already considered key technologies that will enable us to gain a better understanding of the core functions of life.