Synthetic Biology Explained

Synthetic Biology Explained


After ten thousand years of genetic
manipulation by selective breeding humans finally gained direct access to the genetic code Deoxyribonucleic acid D-N-A. Since then we’ve cut and pasted it photocopied fragments of it en masse, sped read it was sequences printed out the code letter by letter in
the lab modeled it on computers and measured it with microscopes. For forty years now we’ve called this work
genetic engineering the trouble is that while there’s been
an extraordinary amount of genetic discovery in manipulation there’s been precious little engineering engineers are frustrated by genetics
and molecular biology. The experiments are too slow the complexity to messy and growing more so all the time and there’s a frustrating lack of
standardised components. They’d like to do to genetic engineering
what engineers and done since the stone age: collect, refine and repackage nature so that it’s easier to make new and reliable things. Engineers want to treat DNA more like a
programming language – instead of one’s and zero’s, ‘A’ ‘T’ ‘G’ and ‘C’. They want to use DNA to write simple
Lego like functional components inspired by, but not found, in nature and then run them in a cell instead of the computer. The only difference is this software builds its own hardware. They call this re-engineered genetic
engineering synthetic biology Nowadays rather than cut and paste the
DNA sequence out of an organism and into another you can, if you know what you’re doing, just type your DNA sequence into a
computer, or copy it from a database, or even select
it from a growing component catalog and then you just order it over the
internet. Yes really. The DNA sequence may be copied from nature
but the DNA itself is made by machine. It’s synthetic. The raw material for synthesizing DNA
is sugar. Twenty five dollars of which will buy
you enough to make a copy of every human genome on the planet. The chemical letters are fed to the
DNA equivalent of an industrial inkjet printer. In goes your sequence information and out comes DNA. At a cost of less than forty cents per
base pair and getting cheaper all the time. It’s then freeze-dried and shipped to your door. Already engineers have assembled an open
source catalog of over five thousand standardised components called BioBricks. At an annual worldwide do-it-yourself
competition university students build new and more
complex BioBricks, string them together and then run them inside a much studied
intestinal bacteria: E.-coli. Sure they’re toy projects with shoe string
budgets but the results are impressive. E. Chromi: a sensitivity tuner and
colour generator is programmed to turn one of five colors
when it detects a certain concentration of an environmental toxin. E. Coliroid is a bacterial system
which switches on and off in response to red light and acts like a bacterial Polaroid camera. Groups with more time and a lot more
money are writing, or as they say in computer
programming refactoring, whole systems. Jay Keisling chemical and biological engineer and his team at UC Berkeley have built and continually refined a new metabolic pathway in yeast by assembling 10 genes from three
organisms in an attempt to produce synthetically the antimalarial drug Artemisinin, and to do it cheaply enough to treat up
to two hundred million malaria suffers each year. Biotechnology pioneer Craig Venter has gone even further. His team has entirely replaced the DNA
of one bacterium with the syntehtic copy of DNA from another naturally occurring species, and added a few extras like their email
address. This wasn’t creating life it was testing
just how reprogrammable a bacterial cell can be. An important step if we want biological factories which
can be tasked to make many things liked vaccine, medicine food and even fuel. In the last ten thousand years genetics
has taken us from gathering seeds to manipulating DNA. An engineering has taken us from rocks and
caves to hand-held computers and skyscrapers. We can only guess what the two working
together as synthetic biology may help us to cheap in the future but
the possibilities are breathtaking: Engineering algae that can eat climate changing
carbon dioxide and produce less polluting biofuels. We might do away with both liver and
kidney transplants and instead use a vat grown all-purpose
biological sieve organ called a kliver. We could can change the nature of
construction, architecture, urban planning, forestry, and even gardening with a seed that can grow into a house, or even return life to a whole planet by terraforming the long dead Mars. Til then synthetic biology advances project
by project As Drew Endy, the civil engineer turned
synthetic biologist says: “Testing of understanding by building is
the shortest path to demonstrating what you know and what you don’t.” In so doing Synthetic biology is already
paying dividends by simultaneously expanding and testing our knowledge of cellular function.

100 thoughts on “Synthetic Biology Explained

  1. the thing is, there won't be any difference between the two in the future, because biology is just advanced nanotechnology.

  2. oh a Replicator?
    eeeeeeehhhhhhhh maybe. Pretty complex. Replicators make exact atom-for-atom copies of things. IMHO biology isn't really suited to making atom-for-atom copies of anything more complex than a DNA molecule. The big problem is howto store the atom-by-atom data. Since you'd be using atoms to store the data (you'd likely use DNA even), the resulting size of the blueprints would be much bigger than the actual object!
    But if you just wanted a non-exact version, yeah why not.

  3. One way it could be done perhaps (biologically) would be for the replicator to have a reservoir of specialised quickly-programmable "universal maker" bacteria which can each be programmed to construct and join a small segment of whatever object you wish to construct, and then die. So you'd start with a blob of bacteria, and it would gradually die off to reveal your object. This is the quickest (pie-in-the-sky) way to do it biologically that i can think of.

  4. if it were possible, evolution would have already produced such an animal. This is kindof what most bacteria already is, and yet here we are.

  5. o yeah man and much much more were all ready making are self's cyborgs its mostly in the medical field right now ie eyes legs hands for people that cant move, we can hook them up to a computer with a wire we connect to a part in there brain so thy can use a computer like you and me its not perfect but still

  6. im pretty sure we can or were really close to it i think thats how that one guy in Florida made his micro bots. these guys are working on it right now
    mechanicalbiology. org/index.html

  7. This video is so nice and so well done except for the CO2 (WE-WILL-ALL-DIE-SOON) part. We will have a massive increase in gaining knowledge about nature but u all still speak about climatechange by the plants most needed nutrient. come on. WAKE UP!!!!

  8. What about the idea of an invincible immune system that includes a synthetic organism that reacts and creates new custom organism to specifically combat the new invader? Would that be possible?

  9. No, at least no in the foreseeable future. You might be able to get it to out compete and provide immunity against one or a couple related organisms now (which would be tremendous), but now what you described in the near future. Still everything is possible in science so someday that or something similar could potential be possible.

  10. What if we manipulate the genetic code of common skin bacteria so that they will prevent infection from numerous forms of pathogens? Or create synthetic cells that can act alongside the immune system in destroying internal pathogens, or even enhancing cell mitosis rates to repair damaged skin, muscle or bone faster than any medication could achieve.

    Don't worry, we have laws to prevent such ground breaking human, self-controlled evolution.

  11. How about neurochemical engineering and hence memory engineering, if there's a time to manipulate the brain cells and their network….that moment could be so called the end of developing engineered human. Actually, I reckon genetic engineering is a matter of probability which means there we can see solution at least, but when it comes to brain networking part, god, extraterritorial yet. I want to born at the age when there's no language barrier as brain could be programmed like the genes.

  12. This could also lead to some crazy ways to control humans behaviors. If one would create a synthetic parasite it could modify cells and therefore transform a person to the liking of the one who ingineered the parasite.

  13. In theory its a good thing. All do if you consider human nature and its twisted desire to control, its pretty bad. Just think what would an imperialist government like the U.S. would do with such a thing.

  14. fuck off idiot people like you should die we are trying to go into the new age but idiots like you want to stop it if it wasnt ment to be we would not find out this technology

  15. but if we choose this path of technology, we will become the form of aliens we always feared, how ironick really.
    i mean this is all good, but if we begin manipulating with the human body, we will stop being human, and so much for all that freedom talk. we will eventually end up becoming one big lifeform, reducing our self to cells in its body…

  16. I dont trust the bunch of bulshit those idiots are talking about.If they believe in evolution yet claim to be that smart i really quastion there onesty…Its all manipulation of the truth.If they where able to believe that 2+2= 7 then i really wouldnt trust a source like that

  17. we already are manipulating with the human body. Surely we are less muscular then our ancestors who 10 000 years ago only stumbled on agriculture. We have changed the way we live and thus manipulated our own bodies and minds, genetically as well as environemntaly.

  18. sure, but that's still going by nature rules,i'm talking about what happens when we at some point become so good at it that we begin making different kinds of people with different kinds of talents, then we at some point will end up with a class system for beings, and it's just downhill from there.
    well, it's not actually that big a problem, it's more a problem if we accidentally destroy our self with this.

  19. A great video, well done and explained clear and to the point. Congratulations to the production team.

  20. Very easy for every one to understand. Educational, inspiring and entertaining!
    Very creative to mix the arts with science to enrich the world

  21. There's one channel of audio – the channel I listened to when proofing the video. You listened to the other channel.There wa a 50/50 change of that.

  22. Synthetic biology is the design and construction of new biological parts, devices and systems that do not exist in the natural world and also the redesign of existing biological systems to perform specific tasks

  23. Well, at least with this new technology it doesn't cost a lot to develop, which makes it accessible to many.  And just like the technology that came before it, I'm sure it will only be used for good and wonderful purposes.  Like large penises, large breasts, weapons – things that matter.

  24. And now we wait and see what they will do with this, either save the world or continue on the path of self destruction.

  25. Every time I revisit this video, something different is wrong with the bloody audio.  Completely ruins it – thought it'd be fixed by now. 🙁

  26. You don't quite understand what he's saying sometimes, strange pronunciation. As for the technology the potential is so big that if we came back to life in say 500 years time the whole planet and the creatures in it including us of course may be unrecognisable to the ones today, everything was re-engineered.

  27. The possibilities for bioengineering remind me of the Yuuzhang vong from star wars legends, who have become bioengineers on a such grand level that they can make armor, spaceships, long distance communication systems and everything a technological civilization needs out of organic material and biologically engineered organisms. It would be very interesting see a real life spaceship that is actually at least partially a synthetic lifeform.

  28. I think GMO's are a GOOD thing, and I also think that Monsanto are a GOOD company. Please don't bite my head off, I'm willing to have a sensible debate, but I'm not going to have yet another flame war with organic trolls.

  29. Genetic process not "genetic manipulation": that would infer an outside force "changing" the genetic process by altering DNA. Like what is inferred in The book of Jasher 4:18
    "After the fallen angels went into the daughters of men, [then] the sons of men taught the mixture of animals of one species with the other in order to provoke the Lord".

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