Design for life – the economic and social life of synthetic biology

14 April 2011

The Royal Society and the Royal Academy of Engineering are jointly hosting a two day symposium this week to discuss the economic and social life of synthetic biology.

For the first time, the expertise and networks of the six science and engineering academies from the UK, China and US will be brought together, producing a unique opportunity for researchers, policy makers and firms interested in this emerging field.

The UK event is the first in a series of three symposia, the second will take place in China in October 2011 and the third in the USA in early 2012. This week’s symposium is exploring the potential for synthetic biology research to lead to novel tools and technology, as well as the challenges provoked by these innovations.

Synthetic biology is an emerging technology, underpinned by both engineering and science, which aims to design and engineer biologically based parts, create new devices and systems and also redesign existing natural biological systems. Applications being discussed at the symposium include biosensors to detect pathogenic biofilms and new ways of producing biofuels and fine chemicals.