MIT 6 047 - Synthetic Biology (4 pages)

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Synthetic Biology



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Synthetic Biology

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Lecture Notes


Pages:
4
School:
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Course:
6 047 - Computational Biology

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MIT OpenCourseWare http ocw mit edu 6 047 6 878 Computational Biology Genomes Networks Evolution Fall 2008 For information about citing these materials or our Terms of Use visit http ocw mit edu terms 6 047 6 878 Fall 2008 Lecture 25 Synthetic Biology Tom Knight December 13 2008 1 Introduction Compared to human engineered artifacts biological systems are strikingly powerful they are re liable and exible capable of storing information at incredible density and most importantly able to self replicate In many ways biology when viewed as a technology is vastly superior to any other Scientists have been modifying biological systems for many years both to better understand them and to make them do useful work Though often called genetic engineering these traditional approaches lack the rigor and power of true engineering disciplines Synthetic biology is a new discipline that aims to truly engineer biology synthetic biologists develop techniques and genetic parts with a focus on standardization characterization and modularity 2 The Analogy Between Electrical Engineering and Synthetic Bi ology The analogy between electrical engineering and synthetic biology is strong Electrical engineering splintered o from physics in the early twentieth century because electrical engineers were building circuits instead of studying quantum physics Similarly synthetic biology has splintered o from traditional biology and bioengineering in this century because synthetic biologists are engineering organisms instead of investigating natural ones This analogy extends beyond history in many ways synthetic biologists are actively modeling their discipline on electrical engineering among other elds The power of modern digital systems is largely due to the idease of hierarchy abstraction standardization etc Consider the hierarchy in modern EECS atoms and transistors where physicists work transistors and connections where layout engineers work abstract logic gates where computer architects work



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