Synthetic Biology

Synthetic biology research is based on the art of designing genetic material from the code up. Rather than slicing, dicing and splicing existing genetic material, new synthesising protocols allow the specification and production of genetic sequences; to order.

Ars Electronica Biolab

Typing or constructing a genetic sequence in computer and ordering from an online supplier is a current, though expensive reality for researchers. Possibilities abound with known and unknown sequences. A simple modern day analogy would be to consider the evoloution of the printer. Beginning with printing words onto to paper that revolutionised transfer of ideas, to the modern day 3D printer that is revolutionising the way we transmit objects, we can now ‘print’ genetic material. Synthetic biology raises fundamental scientific and ethical questions; from the knee-jerk reaction to a Frankenstein-like monster virus, to questions of origin and evolution, there are simultaneously problematic and astounding potentials.

(Extract from Living Logic: Masterclass at Ars Electronica Open Call program curated by Matthew Gardiner, Christopher Lindinger)