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Synthetic Biology Essay

3496 words - 14 pages

1. WHAT IS THE INNOVATION? WHAT IS NEW? WHAT HAS CHANGED AS A CONSEQUENCE?

2.1. Definition of Synthetic Biotechnology

To begin with, it is important to understand what does synthetic biology means. Synthetic biology derives from traditional biotechnology. Traditional biotechnology is defined as any technological application that uses systems living organisms or derivatives to make or modify products or processes for specific uses. This concept is linked to Genetic engineering which involves the manipulation of genetic composition by introducing or eliminating specific genes through molecular biology techniques and DNA recombination. In other words, Engineering Genetics allows ...view middle of the document...

2.2. Applications of Synthetic Biology
The development of new discipline has influenced many sectors ranging from chemical and pharmaceutical industry, to environmental by developing new renewable energy. We have differentiated 5 sectors that will be described hereby: environment, new materials, industrial processes, energy and biomedicine. Synthetic Biology applications with more imminent prospects of development are related to the environment, while biomedicine is presented as the application development prospects in a longer term.

* Environment
The Scientists have not yet meet the high expectations about environmental applications of synthetic biology. Their main objective in the following 5 years is to develop solutions in order to remediate environmental problems, using synthetic biology as an important tool. However, this new era of environmental biotechnology researches are focused towards the design of complex systems and redesign of biological components in electronic circuits. There is an interesting example of this new application called bioremediation.
• Bioremediation: consist on the use of modified bacteria and fungi as tools in order to eliminate toxic compounds in the soil. The main purpose of Bioremediation is to develop the most efficient agencies in the decontamination of ecosystems. They are planning to use E.coli and Pseudomonas Aeruginosa to the degradation of petroleum products as well to the accumulation of heavy metals and compounds radioactive cell walls

* New Materials
There are several mechanisms through which proteins, virus and modified organisms can be applied to processes of developing new Biomaterials. These biomaterials are drug-inert materials, used for being introduced inside alive systems, for replacing any function that is in contact with body fluids.
The main related areas that will be benefit by the development of Synthetic Biology are: Biomedical materials, Sensors, Energy-converters materials, Microelectronic and IT, and composites.
* Industrial process
As applications of Synthetic Biology related to industrial processes, the need of enzymes with specific characteristics makes this an area with a high research activity. They are investigating to create microorganisms capable of producing enzymes with properties that do not exist in nature. The areas of application of the enzymes in industrial processes are the food industry, feeds for animals, and technical sectors related to textile industry, leather, combustible alcohol and washing powder.
Synthetic Biology will permit the acceleration of the processes of discovering and identifying new biocatalysts but also the synthesis of new enzymes with improved properties for several industrial processes.

* Energy
The energy sector is another application of synthetic biology, its development prospects are presented in the medium term, is the production of energy. This is an interesting...

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