MIT6_047f08_lec25_note25

MIT6_047f08_lec25_note25 - MIT OpenCourseWare...

Info icon This preview shows pages 1–3. Sign up to view the full content.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
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 .
Image of page 1

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
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. This analogy extends beyond history: in many ways, synthetic biologists are actively modeling their discipline on electrical engineering (among other fields). The power of modern digital systems is largely due to the idease of hierarchy, abstraction, standardization, etc.
Image of page 2
Image of page 3
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.

{[ snackBarMessage ]}

What students are saying

  • Left Quote Icon

    As a current student on this bumpy collegiate pathway, I stumbled upon Course Hero, where I can find study resources for nearly all my courses, get online help from tutors 24/7, and even share my old projects, papers, and lecture notes with other students.

    Student Picture

    Kiran Temple University Fox School of Business ‘17, Course Hero Intern

  • Left Quote Icon

    I cannot even describe how much Course Hero helped me this summer. It’s truly become something I can always rely on and help me. In the end, I was not only able to survive summer classes, but I was able to thrive thanks to Course Hero.

    Student Picture

    Dana University of Pennsylvania ‘17, Course Hero Intern

  • Left Quote Icon

    The ability to access any university’s resources through Course Hero proved invaluable in my case. I was behind on Tulane coursework and actually used UCLA’s materials to help me move forward and get everything together on time.

    Student Picture

    Jill Tulane University ‘16, Course Hero Intern