Day 3 at the Living Logic masterclass featured Jens Hauser, Markus Schmidt, and George Church.
Day 3 at the Living Logic masterclass kicked off with ethical and artistic concerns raised by Jens Hauser and Markus Schmidt. After lunch the class were led through an inspiring discussion on state of the art and future potentials of synthetic biology by Prof. George Church.
In the following excerpt from Stefan Schwarzmair we get an insight into the day's discussion raised by George Church.
In spite of my formal training as a biotechnologist, I still considered myself to be rather a participant than a lecturer especially during the George Church’s lecture on the last day. He basically presented us the entire cross section of his current professional work in his lab at the Harvard Medical School. This was basically a demonstration of the total scope of synthetic biology today because of his extreme resources he has at his disposition in his labs. It was very enlightening to learn about the future developments that can be expected from this highly versatile field. For instance he’d like to use DNA as a highly functional material for self-organizing nano-machinery or he would like to basically alter the genetic code of life in a way that it becomes incompatible with viral genomes in order to once and for all exorcize the curse of lethal viruses which abuse our genetic machinery for their own purpose of reproduction. Another concept of his strongly conjured memories of Jurassic Park, the de-extinction project in which he seeks to reconstruct and artificially synthesize the DNA of extinct species (e.g. the Tasmanian tiger) to bring them back into existence. Most of these projects are still in an early phase at which it might not be clear whether the ultimate goal of each of these projects can be reached at all. However, the visions are intriguing and in my opinion this is the most important output of this Masterclass: to get inspirations.