This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

Synthetic Biology: Promises And Perils Essay

874 words - 4 pages

Shahriyar Jahanbakhsh
Professor Dell’Angelica
Honors 141
25 May 2014
Synthetic Biology: Promises and Perils
In May 2010, researchers at the J. Craig Venter Institute (JCVI) in San Diego announced the construction of the first “synthetic” organism, a bacterium powered by an artificially synthesized genome.1 While the de novo generation of life remains beyond scientific reach (the JCVI team transplanted the synthetic genome into an existing Mycoplasma recipient cell), the implications of Venter’s experimental success are profound. A milestone in the nascent field of synthetic biology, JCVI’s pioneering achievement has inspired prospects for the creation of highly customized genomes with agricultural, environmental, and pharmaceutical applications. Nonetheless, many years remain before these prospects can become commercial reality; Venter’s synthetic genome cost an estimated $40 million and was the product of over a decade of research. As technical barriers to engineering entire genomes are gradually overcome, the development of regulatory frameworks for mitigating potential risks associated with synthetic organisms will take precedence. These possible hazards extend beyond those posed by the microbes themselves to include the exploitation of synthetic biology for malicious purposes. The advancement of synthetic biology must therefore occur in the context of sustained and intensive dialogue across multiple sectors of society.
When fully realized, synthetic genomics will revolutionize the manufacture of pharmaceutical products and offer innovative solutions to pressing environmental problems. Foremost, the ability to routinely construct and integrate custom genomes will facilitate the development of novel therapeutics. Researchers have already engineered artificial adenoviruses that target cancer cells in culture, and similar approaches involving the introduction of synthetic gene constructs to E. coli are currently being explored.2 Other foreseeable clinical applications include the treatment of bacterial infections with viruses engineered to attack antibiotic-resistant strains and sophisticated behavioral and phenotypic control of cells implanted for regenerative purposes.3 Synthetic genomics will also allow for biosynthesis of conventional drugs and vaccines, reducing the costs associated with these lifesaving products. Moreover, approaches derived from synthetic biology will help address an array of environmental challenges. One strategy entails equipping microbes with synthetic gene circuits for the detection of heavy metals and pesticides. Such contaminants can then be degraded by organisms whose artificial genomes encode the requisite biochemical pathway. Synthetic organisms may also alleviate environmental impacts associated with producing certain chemicals. In 2011, researchers at Genomatica (also in San Diego) successfully constructed an E. coli strain capable of synthesizing 1,4-butanediol, an industrially relevant compound not produced...

Find Another Essay On Synthetic Biology: Promises and Perils

Fueling our way to Danger Essay

943 words - 4 pages Biofuel is the new alternative fuel source that the public has been talking non-stop about. This fuel source is derived from sources of biomass such as animal fat, soybeans, corn, and cellulosic materials being used to convert them all into ethanol or biodiesel. The wide variety of benefits from using such fuel source promises a world of renewable and clean energy source. Compared to fossil fuel, biofuels are much cheaper, reduce carbon dioxide

The First Bite of the Leaf

886 words - 4 pages even affects our real modern day world. The first sentence of the book reads “IT WAS A PLEASURE TO BURN” (1). This sentence highlights the state Montag is in, and in doing so it also reveals the disposition of society in relation to our current time. Montag is painted as a vicious creature, one that uses a “great python spitting its venomous kerosene upon the world”, while having a synthetic smile engraved onto his face(1). His smile is a

Designer Babies

1203 words - 5 pages to a synthetic society, in which we no longer find beauty in imperfections, but in how much parents can spend on their designer. This promises a bleak future for the mankind. There is also the consideration of genetically altering fetuses for the sake of curing a disease or even stop it from passing on. Recently scientists have made rapid advances in our knowledge of the human genome and in our ability to modify and change genes. In the future

Historical Elements of Huxley's Brave New World

611 words - 2 pages worse”(pg. 63). This would be very much true of Marx to dislike the ways that Hoover ran the country and his disagreements with the capitalistic style of government. This book is constantly pulling up ideas from the past, but the main purpose of this book is to serve as a warning to the future. Aldous Huxley had the genius to foresee that the future would not indeed be a utopia. He foresaw the perils of genetic engineering as it seems to be an inevitable future for the human race.

Evidence of the theory of evolution

809 words - 3 pages evolution occurs through the inheritance of acquired characteristics. However, they found evidence for evolution that from population genetics, molecular biology, and comparative anatomy and embryology, Darwin's theory which states that evolution progresses through natural selection and the synthetic theory of evolution that combines natural selection with the influence of genetics may be supported.

Scripps Research

495 words - 2 pages internationally recognized for its basic research into immunology, molecular and cellular biology, chemistry, neurosciences, autoimmune diseases, cardiovascular diseases, virology and synthetic vaccine development. Particularly significant is the Institute's study of the basic structure and design of biological molecules; in this arena TSRI is among a handful of the world's leading centers.The philosophy of The Scripps Research Institute emphasizes

Use of Performance Enhancing Drugs In Sports

1173 words - 5 pages children, menopausal symptoms, impotence, and the retardation of the effects of aging by stimulating the rate of synthesis of protein molecules (Biology 121 Web Project 1). These steroids are a simulated testosterone hormone of the ?steroid hormone? group. Most simply understood, the hormones function by passing from the blood stream into individual cells where the hormones bind to a receptor and activate certain genes that cause the production

The Use of Performance Enhancing Drugs in Sports

1338 words - 5 pages must look at the history of the development of anabolic steroids: a group of powerful synthetic chemical compounds that resemble the natural male sex hormones (Schwarzenneger 722). Anabolic steroids were first developed in the 1930's as a therapeutic drug to treat growth hormone replacement in deficient children, menopausal symptoms, impotence, and the retardation of the effects of aging by stimulating the rate of synthesis of protein

The Importance Of Biotechnology In Today's Time

3554 words - 15 pages agriculture) or endangered population (in conservation). One very exciting potential of this field is that entire DNA sequences or genomes of endangered species can be preserved.Biotechnology has a promising future. In future biotechnology will be accredited for some revolutionary technology. Recent advances in bioenergy, bioremediation, synthetic biology, DNA computers, virtual cell, genomics, proteomics, bioinformatics and bio-nanotechnology


666 words - 3 pages about how my body functions. To me, it has always been about getting to know my self better. To excel in the field of Biology is not merely my dream, but my passion. I have started on this path of never-ending discovery and I want to master this science. It would not be unjustifying to state that the world is a better place today because of the advances in biological sciences. It truly promises to be an ever-advancing profession on this planet

A World of $6,000,000 Men & Women

846 words - 4 pages . Rugnetta, Michael. "Synthetic Biology." Encyclopedia Britannica Online. Encyclopedia Britannica, n.d. Web. 05 Dec. 2013. Sells, Harvey. "The History of Bioengineering." EHow. Demand Media, 19 Apr. 2010. Web. 05 Dec. 2013. Winslow, Ron. "Man Controls Artificial Leg Using Only His Brain, Researchers Say." The Wall Street Journal. Dow Jones and Company, Inc., 25 Sept. 2013. Web. 5 Dec. 2013.

Similar Essays

Analysis And Description Of Synthetic Biology

675 words - 3 pages Synthetic biology, “the aim is to create improved biological functions to fight current and future challenges”. Like all engineering disciples’ synthetic biology is motivated by application to solve specific problems” (3, 7). “Like chemistry biology is the study of living things. Synthetic biology is replicating and recreating nature, which allows it to sometimes control living things (6). Larger quantities of Artemisinin a drug for malaria will

What Would I Be An Expert In?

1404 words - 6 pages : Tyndale House Publishers Inc. al-attique. (2011). The Quaran. In The Quaran (pp. 7-33). al-attique. Tucker, J. B. (2006, spring). New Atlantas. Retrieved from The Promise and Perils of Synthetic Biology : CDC. (2011, May). Emergency Preparedness and Response. Retrieved May 2011, from CDC: Clark, T. (2011, January 6). Stress, Tunnel

History Of Biochemistry: Chemistry And Biology Connection To The World Today

1174 words - 5 pages What criteria connects biology to chemistry? -Chemistry has changed the way the world is today. -Biology has changed how certain organisms live and stay alive today. I will explain how chemistry and biology connect throughout the world today. Following questions: •What was this society like before the discovery of biology? Biology is the study of living organisms and how organisms may live after awhile. Aristotle discovered biology in 1802.The

Nanotechnology For Africa Development Essay

1721 words - 7 pages is an emerging science that promises enormous growth for development in Africa in the field of water sanitation, medicine, solar energy, food technology, and agriculture. Nanotechnology is rightly considered to be in the nascent stage; it was first used in 1974 by the late Norio Taniguichi [1] (University Of Tokyo). It consists of atoms and molecules used in different ways. The disciplines of physics, chemistry, and biology have long dealt with