Posts Tagged ‘biology’

Synthetic life – new lifeforms

Sunday, November 22nd, 2009

We are approaching a situation where we can design organisms to do what we want. We may be able to construct organisms with new genomes from scratch and put them to work for us!

Szybalski wrote in 1974 that we can build up new genomes, and that this technology has unlimited expansion potential. Vinge and Kurzweil have written about the singularity or paradigm shifts where the sudden growth of new thinking and technology “happens”.

The tools are being developed – recently Craig Venter announced that he is working on tools for new biotechnological production. Others have shown that lab activity is high, and may soon be on the way into production shops.

It seems that we can design complex organisms, building new DNA by gene synthesis, synthetic chemistry and synthetic biology. The possible uses seem to be unlimited – an example has been biofuels based on new organisms with yields much higher than present substances.

Combinations with nano tech is also on the horizon.

There are risks and legal questions to be settled, but the advantages seems to outweigh the risks by far. Building understanding of what we do is as usual important.