Creating Life, without Life?

Creating life without life, I want you to let that internalize a bit more in your head.

Yeah, I know right?!!! Creating LIFE without LIFE to start with. It’s crazy that we are in a point in society where we can make life without a man and a woman. This, ladies and gentlemen, is where synthetic biology comes in.

Synthetic biology, in simple terms, is mixing biology to redesign old organisms and create new ones. It’s just like genetic engineering, but on steroids.

The 4 basic nitrogenous bases that DNA is composed of — adenine, thymine, guanine and cytosine.

DNA is made up of 4 letters, which are the 4 basic nitrogenous bases of which DNA is composed of. These are known as A (adenine), C (cytosine), T(thymine) and G (guanine). These proteins are rearranged in your DNA to create the recipe for different proteins.

This field is experiencing some major advantages, and has the potential to affect so many fields, such as:

  1. Healthcare
  2. Biofuels
  3. Material Science

Healthcare

Through synthetic biology, the creation of artificial nucleotides have been created.

So what is an artificial nucleotide? Well, let’s start with describing the second part of the word, nucleotide.

A nucleotide is the basis of nucleic acids. They are created of 3 subunit molecules known as a nucleobase (or a nitrogenous base), a 5-carbon sugar (deoxyribose or ribose), and at least one phosphate group.

Nucleotides are so important for living organisms to function. They are the blocks of which nucleic acids form. These chemicals control all your hereditary characteristics.

There are two families of nucleic acids, known as ribonucleic acid (RNA) and deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA). The sequence of these chemicals in either the DNA or the RNA codes for the structure of proteins made in the cell. This determines the cell’s function as a whole.

DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid)

By making these artificial, we would be able to control the hereditary characteristics within the cell. This would give us the ability to gain certain traits within a cell, but also allowing us to change certain traits as well.

This could be monumental for diseases such as sickle cell, who carry a specific trait that is inherited genetically.

Biofuels

Synthetic biology is being used to take the bioenergy sector to a whole different level.

We all know that the use of solar panels to capture the sun’s energy is being used, along with many other ways of creating renewable and sustainable energy. The problem is, these products are very expensive. The production prices of these ideas are very high, and this has forced scientists to think a different way, perhaps, a synthetic biologistic way 🤔

Synthetic biology is being used to improve the way we get energy from plants, but also to create new cell factories that can generate energy from raw materials.

You might be wondering what these ‘cell factories’ are. It’s very simple. Cell factories or cell factory engineering, is focused on the production of native metabolites. A metabolite is the substance produced during digestion, or in other words, metabolism. These cell factories look at different aspects of the cell, such as protein production or biosynthetic pathways, and see how one can change it or use it to their advantage.

Synthetic biologists are working on generating industrial enzymes through creating biosynthetic pathways to increase the amount of biofuel-generating pathways.

Companies like GenPlus also provide genetic synthesizing services to get people started on projects like these as well.

Material Science

That’s right, synthetic biology has gotten itself involved in material science as well!

Different substances in nature contain properties that could be used in creating a synthetic material. For example, materials like spider silk are being produced using synthetic biology by companies like Spiber, who have been working on this for the past eleven years.

Spider silk is being used to create more sustainable products today.

The trajectory of Spiber’s future is as follows, “In the future, proteins will be widely used as a basic industrial material, just as metals, glass, and plastics are used today. Together with our partners, we have the vision, the drive and the determination to usher in a new age of manufacturing.”

Spider silk is one of the most strongest materials in the world. Using organic material, like spider silk, to manufacture our products today, would result in faster composting times.

Companies like Genomatica, who is the leader in bioengineering and rated #1 by the mainstream chemical industry, are creating bio-based processes to make widely-used chemicals that make more sustainable products.

As you can see, synthetic biology is taking over the world.

Okay, that might be a stretch, but it is definitely changing the future, and creating endless possibilities and a more sustainable world. There are so many parts to this innovation that are still being discovered on a day-to-day basis, for example, cutting production posts.

We don’t know all of the answers right now, but we can make some crazy cool predictions for the future.

Interested in a little more? Feel free to email me at christina.a.vadivelu@gmail.com

Also, add me on LinkedIn to see the projects and events I go to as well! www.linkedin.com/in/christina-vadivelu-0b498b193/

On a path to impact billions. Yeah, billions.

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