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Published On: July 11th, 2023Categories: Articles, pH Meter
No introduction to synthetic biology would be complete without the precise definition provided by The National Human Genome Institute, which describes syn-bio as “a field of science that involves redesigning organisms for useful purposes by engineering them to have new abilities.”

A complete history and introduction to synthetic biology would teach that synthetic biology was first realized in the 1960s but came of age in the 1980s and 1990s with the discovery and research on polymerase chain reaction (PCR), genetic engineering, and cloning.

Today, synthetic biology touches several different fields and applications. As an introduction to synthetic biology at its basic level, read on to learn more about syn-bio and biofuels, sustainable agriculture, medicine and essential tools you need in your synthetic biology laboratory.

Introduction to Synthetic Biology: What Are Its Applications?

Because syn-bio can touch many different fields, it has many applications. Drug discovery, reducing or improving our carbon footprint, and improving agriculture are three main goals when discussing an introduction to synthetic biology and sustainable agriculture.

Synthetic Biology and Medicine

Synthetic biology has played a main role in drug discovery. First, drug targets are identified and validated. Then, lead or lead compounds are tested to see which match with drug target molecules. A drug’s stability must be tested. Syn-bio also practices biosynthesis of lead compounds for testing, and this was one of the first applications used in synthetic biology.

Synthetic Biology and Sustainable Agriculture

Syn-bio and sustainable agriculture is a rapidly growing field with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 34.56 percent from 2020 to 2025. Typically, syn-bio concerning agriculture is a redesigning of organisms. This can be expressed in several different ways, such as

  • Reducing synthetic fertilizer usage
  • Utilizing phosphorous
  • Optimizing plant nitrogen
  • Improving the nutritional value of plants
  • Having photoautotrophic organisms as large-scale production platforms

This is just an example of several ways syn-bio can be used in agriculture. Like other subfields of syn-bio, rewriting genomes is the basis of most applications concerning syn-bio and agriculture.

Synthetic Biology and Biofuels

The production of biofuels falls under the larger umbrellas of bioengineering or biomanufacturing, but it is one of the most important emerging synthetic biology technologies. Primarily, researchers use syn-bio to produce biofuels in one of two ways: the creation of “cell factories” that can generate energy from both traditional and nontraditional feedstock and the improvement of the existing methods of producing biofuels from plants.

Introduction to Synthetic Biology: Basic Tools in the Lab

For different applications, syn-bio requires automation in the lab to help research run seamlessly. For a general synthetic biology laboratory, you may find tools, such as

  • Incubators
  • Fluorimeters
  • Spectrophotometers
  • Thermocyclers
  • Pipettes and micropipettes
  • pH meters
  • Vortex and orbital mixers
  • Automatic purification systems
  • Centrifuges

Syn-bio uses many automated tools, such as liquid handling robots and robotic arms, in a working synthetic biology laboratory.

For a more thorough introduction to synthetic biology, or to learn about what you need in your syn-bio lab, contact Hudson Robotics today to request a quote.