Where will synthetic biology go?

At the beginning of the 21st century, synthetic biology was still a new discipline. After 21 years of development, synthetic biology has now become a mature field. So far, synthetic biology has made remarkable achievements in agriculture, bioenergy, biomaterials, medical treatment, and many other fields.

In 2010, the biggest event in synthetic biology was the complete synthesis of a bacterial genome completed by J. Craig Venter Institute (JCVI). This was a milestone achievement, indicating that DNA synthesis and DNA assembly can be extended to a very large scale. In 2016, Nielsen et al. published Cello, an excellent computer-aided design system for the construction of E. coli logic circuits[1].

With the birth and promotion of chip synthesis technology, thousands of oligonucleotides can be synthesized in parallel, greatly reducing the cost of gene synthesis. Combined with next generation sequencing (NGS) technology, the results of DNA assembly can be verified, ushering in the era of large-scale and low-cost gene synthesis. Meanwhile, with the construction of highly modified, but fully functional, Baker’s yeast chromosomes by the international Sc2.0 consortium, synthetic genomics has also entered the field of eukaryotes.

With the development of synthetic biology, DNA has become a new way to store data and “cell-free” synthesis has become a new trend. It can be said that healthcare has replaced metabolic engineering and become the first choice for the application of synthetic biology. A multitude of synthetic biology companies have created multi-billion dollar industries.

However, if any industry wants to develop, it must have its own opportunities and challenges. In the article “Ten future challenges for synthetic biology”[2], there are 10 technological advances are discussed, including automation and industrialization, deep learning for DNA design, designing with whole-cell simulations, biosensing: detecting anything, anywhere, real-time precise control of evolution, cellular communities and multicellularity, custom and dynamic synthetic genomes, artificial cells, materials with DNA-encoded properties, and engineered organisms for sustainability goals.

Synthetic biology is booming and deeply affecting our planet and life in general. We hope to use the technical means of synthetic biology to solve problems with resources, the environment and more.

Synbio Technologies has established a proprietary bio-design, bio-synthesis, and bio-learning platform to provide a broad range of DBTL steps (Design-Build-Test-Learn) in the synthetic biology pipeline. Our synthetic biology services cover pathway design, DNA synthesis, strain construction, enzyme engineering, metabolites analysis, bioprocess development, and more. Our Ph.D. level scientists help you with consultation, evaluation, and execution of your interests in all DBTL service areas.

[1] Olivia Gallup, Hia Ming, Tom Ellis. Ten future challenges for synthetic biology. Engineering Biology. 2021.
[2] Fankang Meng and Tom Ellis. The second decade of synthetic biology: 2010–2020. Nat Communications. 2020;11:5174.