How synthetic biology can solve the problems we’ve created

synthetic biology
Image source: Curiousmatic

Human activity has wreaked havoc on the environment. Many of the products we rely on for our daily lives are sourced from petroleum or made using harsh chemicals that become environmental pollutants …. These are complex problems, and we’ll need an arsenal of tools to address them. Fortunately, scientists are adding innovative approaches to the toolbox all the time. One of those tools, synthetic biology, is opening doors in environmental science by untangling complicated gene networks.

Broadly, synthetic biology is the application of engineering and computer science to biology ….

Synthetic biology is being used to develop novel approaches for dealing with contaminated waste and cleaning up polluted sites.

For instance, when whiskey is made in copper stills, the resulting spent grains are contaminated with copper ions. Synthetic biologists at the University of Edinburgh are engineering bacteria to convert those copper ions into copper nanoparticles that have biomedical uses. The cleaned-up grains can then be composted or used for animal feed.

Related article:  Creating artificial life and what we want from it—including resistance 'to all known pathogens'

Several efforts are underway using synthetic biology to protect and restore species diversity by conserving endangered species, restoring extinct species and controlling invasive species. Synthetic biologists can also help protect biodiversity by making crops and animals more disease-resistant.

Synthetic biology is a key focus of Revive and Restore, an incubator that is focused on using genetic techniques to enhance biodiversity. They’re exploring how synthetic biology can help conserve and restore coral reefs, protect the blackfooted ferretfrom disease and restore extinct birds.

Read full, original article: Synthetic biology promises a greener future

Outbreak Daily Digest
Biotech Facts & Fallacies
Talking Biotech
Genetics Unzipped
can you boost your immune system to prevent coronavirus spread x

Video: How to boost your immune system to guard against COVID and other illnesses

Scientists have recently developed ways to measure your immune age. Fortunately, it turns out your immune age can go down ...
mag insects image superjumbo v

Disaster interrupted: Which farming system better preserves insect populations: Organic or conventional?

A three-year run of fragmentary Armageddon-like studies had primed the journalism pumps and settled the media framing about the future ...
dead bee desolate city

Are we facing an ‘Insect Apocalypse’ caused by ‘intensive, industrial’ farming and agricultural chemicals? The media say yes; Science says ‘no’

The media call it the “Insect Apocalypse”. In the past three years, the phrase has become an accepted truth of ...
globalmethanebudget globalcarbonproject cropped x

Infographic: Cows cause climate change? Agriculture scientist says ‘belching bovines’ get too much blame

A recent interview by Caroline Stocks, a UK journalist who writes about food, agriculture and the environment, of air quality ...
organic hillside sweet corn x

Organic v conventional using GMOs: Which is the more sustainable farming?

Many consumers spend more for organic food to avoid genetically modified products in part because they believe that “industrial agriculture” ...
benjamin franklin x

Are most GMO safety studies funded by industry?

The assertion that biotech companies do the research and the government just signs off on it is false ...
gmo corn field x

Do GMO Bt (insect-resistant) crops pose a threat to human health or the environment?

Bt is a bacterium found organically in the soil. It is extremely effective in repelling or killing target insects but ...

Environmental Working Group: EWG challenges safety of GMOs, food pesticide residues

Known by some as the "Environmental Worrying Group," EWG lobbies for tighter GMO legislation and famously puts out annual "dirty dozen" list of fruits and ...
m hansen

Michael Hansen: Architect of Consumers Union ongoing anti-GMO campaign

Michael K. Hansen (born 1956) is thought by critics to be the prime mover behind the ongoing campaign against agricultural biotechnology at Consumer Reports. He is an ...
News on human & agricultural genetics and biotechnology delivered to your inbox.
Optional. Mail on special occasions.
Send this to a friend