Taming the Beast of Biology: Synthetic Biology and Biological Systems Engineering


  • Sven Panke Department of Biosystems Science and Engineering, ETH Zurich, Mattenstrasse 26, Zurich, Switzerland;, Email: sven.panke@bsse.ethz.ch




Dna synthesis, Orthogonal operating systems, Synthetic biology, Systems assembly


Despite the availability of a variety of ' -omics ' technologies to support the system-wide analysis of industrially relevant microorganisms, the manipulation of strains towards an economically relevant goal remains a challenge. Remarkably, our ability to catalogue the participants in and model ever more comprehensive aspects of a microorganism's physiology is now complemented by technologies that permanently expand the scope of engineering interventions that can be imagined. In fact, genome-wide editing and re-synthesis of microbial and even eukaryotic chromosomes have become widely applied methods. At the heart of this emerging system-wide engineering approach, often labelled ' Synthetic Biology ' , is the continuous improvement of large-scale DNA synthesis, which is put to two-fold use: (i) starting ever more ambitious efforts to re-write existing and coding novel molecular systems, and (ii) designing and constructing increasingly sophisticated library technologies, which has led to a renaissance of directed evolution in strain engineering. Here, we briefly review some of the critical concepts and technological stepping-stones of Synthetic Biology on its way to becoming a mature industrial technology.




How to Cite

S. Panke, Chimia 2020, 74, 402, DOI: 10.2533/chimia.2020.402.