Current Uses of Synthetic Biology for Renewable Chemicals, Pharmaceuticals, and Biofuels

While the term “synthetic biology” is relatively new, the science is not. Synthetic biology is in fact an evolution of biotechnology and it has been safely used in the development of products that hold benefits for society. A moratorium on science would harm patients waiting for cures as well as consumers seeking environmentally preferable alternatives to petrochemical-derived products.

While the first human genome was mapped a little more than a decade ago through a multiyear, multi-billion-dollar effort, new genomes for plants and microbes are being mapped at a much faster rate and at lower cost. Microbes naturally perform a myriad of tasks, such as making bread and cheese. They have been adapted to make vitamins, synthetic rubber, advanced biofuels and green plastics. With the new wealth of genomic data, scientists have increased the speed, precision, and predictability of biobased products. Applying the name “synthetic biology” to these efforts would not change the biotechnology industry’s decades-long record of safety under the current regulatory regime.

The term “synthetic biology” describes new biotech tools for harnessing nature’s genomes. Applying new regulation simply because a new term has been coined is unwarranted and can actually chill much-needed scientific innovation.

Read here stories from our member companies on the contributions they have made to industrial biotechnology through the use of synthetic biology.