Synthetic Biology Achievements And Future Prospects

author: Roman Jerala, Laboratory of Biotechnology, National Institute of Chemistry Slovenia
published: Oct. 5, 2009,   recorded: September 2009,   views: 6687


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Synthetic biology, which combines engineering approach in biological systems is getting a strong momentum due to the recent technological advances, which allow us to manipulate the genetic information at an unprecedented scale. Currently synthetic biology is exploiting its potentials and advantages but also bottlenecks. We will review some success stories of synthetic biology in different field of applications, such as medicine, energy and materials. Medical applications of synthetic biology are some of the most promising areas of synthetic biology, particularly for the alternative methods of drug production, biosensors and also different therapeutic applications. Recent developments in our understanding of cellular signaling and host-pathogen interactions provide the opportunity for new types of medical intervention, where we can utilize parts of the existing or reengineer signaling responses connected to various pathological conditions. Knowledge of the ways that microbes use to avoid the human immune response allows us to devise approach to bypass those microbial strategies. We will look at three different applications of synthetic biology, which involve reengineering of cell signaling pathways, which we have prepared for the international genetically engineered machines competition in years 2006-2008. We have designed and demonstrated proof of the concept of antiviral detection and defense system based on essential viral functions that is independent on mutations and a synthetic vaccine that activates both innate and adaptive immune response.

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