MIT6_047f08_lec25_note25 - MIT OpenCourseWare...

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Unformatted text preview: MIT OpenCourseWare 6.047 / 6.878 Computational Biology: Genomes, Networks, Evolution Fall 2008 For information about citing these materials or our Terms of Use, visit: . 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 flexible, 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 off from physics in the early twentieth century because electrical engineers were building circuits instead of studying quantum physics. Similarly, synthetic biology has splintered off from traditional biology and bioengineering in this century because synthetic biologists are engineering organisms instead of investigating natural ones....
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This note was uploaded on 09/24/2010 for the course EECS 6.047 / 6. taught by Professor Manoliskellis during the Fall '08 term at MIT.

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MIT6_047f08_lec25_note25 - MIT OpenCourseWare...

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