Tag Index  /  Showing 1 - 13 of 13 results for “synthetic biology”

Bio & Life Sciences

A Glowing Plant: the First Fruit of “Digitized” Genetic Engineering

Synthetic biology is entering an exciting new phase. An ecosystem of companies is now developing services to enable faster, cheaper, and better genetic engineering. They are, in effect, "digitizing" genetic engineering through relatively inexpensive cloud-based and robotic laboratories that bring capabilities that were once the exclusive domain of large corporations to academic groups and small startups. To use an old computing analogy, this is biotech’s PC moment: Digitization allows those without technical expertise to operate at higher, more abstract levels. The digital keys to synthetic biology—reproducibility and protocol sharing—could make biological apps as easy to develop as mobile apps are today.   More

Bio & Life Sciences

U.S. Risks Losing Its Lead in Synthetic Biology, Expert Says

American scientists pioneered the field of synthetic biology, and the U.S. government funded the research that catalyzed commercialization of its earliest products. But unless key players in the U.S. get their act together soon, other nations will dominate the booming multibillion-dollar industry. “What is at stake here is the future competitive advantage of countries, especially the U.S.,” says Nancy J. Kelley.   More

Bio & Life Sciences Techonomy Events

Talking About Biology’s Grass Roots Revolution

“As a reporter who’s covered both biotech and what the rest of the world calls just plain ‘tech,’ I can tell you those stories about biology can be tougher to tell,” said WIRED senior writer Marcus Wohlsen during a session, entitled "The Next Revolution Will Be Biologized," that he moderated at Techonomy 2014 in Half Moon Bay last week. Wholsen shared the stage with a panel of the sector’s thought leaders: attorney and consultant Nancy Kelley; chemical biologist Floyd Romesberg of The Scripps Research Institute; synthetic biology pioneer Drew Endy of Stanford University; and Brian Frezza, founder of “biotech lab for hire” Emerald Therapeutics.   More

Bio & Life Sciences

Synthetic Biology’s Future Assembled in Boston Last Weekend

iGEM challenges multidisciplinary student teams to solve real-world problems with entirely new biological systems that they design and build from interchangeable sequences of DNA. The assembly last Monday marked the final segment of the 2014 International Genetically Engineered Machines (iGEM) competition, and the culmination of a weekend of intense bonding, as well as dancing and drinking, among the world’s most brilliant young bioengineers.   More

Bio & Life Sciences

Can Synthetic Biology Survive in a World Haunted by “Frankenfood”?

There is nothing that turns the collective stomach quite like the word “Frankenfood.” It’s an instant warning to avoid such food. Frankenfood, of course, refers to plants that have been genetically modified in some way. GMOs, as these genetically modified organisms are known, have been more or less accepted in some countries such as the U.S., but have been banned in many others due to public outcry, particularly in Europe. It is tough to restore the public image of something once it has acquired such a viscerally-effective label. In the next few decades, it is very unlikely that GMO-based food will become accepted in countries where it is currently banned.   More

Bio & Life Sciences

Graduating from GMOs, Can Regulators Keep Up with Syn Bio?

The synthetic biology product floodgates are opening, and U.S. environmental, health, and safety regulators are at risk of drowning. That's the general sentiment expressed in a report released this week by policy researchers at the J. Craig Venter Institute, the University of Virginia, and EMBO in Heidelberg. They detail how the increased use of more sophisticated synthetic biology technologies to engineer plants and microbes will present major challenges to government agencies including EPA, FDA, and USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service that have oversight of syn-bio-derived products.   More

Bio & Life Sciences Government Jobs

Techonomic Top 5: Federal Inefficiency, Chromosome Breakthrough, Virtual Employers, and More

Every week we spotlight techonomic happenings on the Web and beyond, picking people, companies, and trends that exemplify tech’s ever-growing role in business and society. Here’s what’s got our attention.   More

Bio & Life Sciences

NYU Scientists Lead Synthetic Chromosome Breakthrough

Another huge milestone has been reached in synthetic biology. Scientists have created a working chromosome and inserted it into a living cell. The cell continued to act normally—what scientists consider a key measure of success. While chromosomes have already been created for bacteria, accomplishing the feat with a brewer's yeast cell, a more complex organism, is a major accomplishment. Jeff Boeke, director of NYU's Institute for System's Genetics and the leader of the research team, was quoted as saying, "We have made of 50,000 changes to the DNA code in the chromosome and our yeast is still alive. That is remarkable… It is the most extensively altered chromosome ever built." The potential efficiencies created by these synthetic strains of yeast open doors to remarkable medical and biofuel opportunities, to name just a couple.   More

Bio & Life Sciences

Using Software to Program the Building Blocks of Life

“What’s beautiful about software is that it makes complex jobs easy,” opines Andrew Hessel, a distinguished researcher at Autodesk, the software company best known for the design software, AutoCAD. What’s really beautiful about what Hessel and others at Autodesk are working on is what they’re building new design tools for—life itself. Hessel, who spoke at Techonomy’s November conferences in 2011 and 2013, sees the work Autodesk is involved in as a way to create greater access to the burgeoning field of synthetic biology and, along the way, turbocharge fields like energy and food production, manufacturing, and hopefully developing personalized, genetic-level tools for fighting, maybe even curing, things like cancer.   More

Bio & Life Sciences

Life Sciences: What to Expect in 2014

Now that we have recapped the major trends of 2013, let's look ahead to what will be exciting in 2014 in life sciences. In the past couple years, scientists have gone from the first proof it was possible to sequence the genome of a fetus using cells from a mother’s blood, to doing it a number of successful ways. Ethical considerations aside, this is a remarkable scientific achievement that has major implications for clinical utility.   More

Bio & Life Sciences Internet of Things

Why Designers and Engineers Need Chances to Cross-Pollinate

Understanding and making the most of disruptive technologies such as genomics, robotics, the internet of things, and synthetic biology will be a challenge best met by a mix of engineers and designers, says designer Jonathan Follett, principal at Involution Studios. In a podcast with O'Reilly's Jenn Webb today, Follett says that the problems these new technologies present to humanity make it crucial that the two disciplines evolve and work together.   More

Bio & Life Sciences Energy & Green Tech

DIY Genetic Engineering Project Draws Crowd and Controversy

A fundraising campaign for a DIY biology project to genetically engineer "sustainable natural lighting" was going gangbusters on Kickstarter. And that was before it was featured on page B1 of the New York Times today. But not all of the attention has been supportive.   More

Bio & Life Sciences

Life Sciences: What to Expect in 2013

It’s still early enough in the year that we’re all still reminding ourselves to write “2013” instead of “2012”—which means that it’s just the right time to be considering what this new year has in store for us. Every news service loves to make predictions, and here at Techonomy we’re no different. So here are our best guesses for what’s to come for the life sciences field in 2013.   More