Synth bio rides the hype curve

Over at MIT, Thomas Knight, Drew Endy, et al. continue to draw glowing press on the subject of synthetic biology. Here’s the Guardian talking about MIT’s new undergraduate synth bio curriculum.

The synthetic biology story has been a matter of breathless anticipation for the science journalists out there, and the anti-genetic modification zealots and religious conservatives have yet to start beating on it. As soon as we start hearing the first horrified Luddite outrage about MIT’s new program, I’ll know that it’s really arrived. Here’s Douglas Lauffenburger predicting the future.

In a field so loaded with possibilities, it is difficult for the
researchers to map out the future. Lauffenburger is certain that within 50 years, the entire pharmaceutical industry will operate on an engineered basis, eliminating the need for messy trial and error
methods of drug discovery.

I believe that. But 50 years is a mighty long time.

One thought on “Synth bio rides the hype curve”

  1. Did you notice this synbio competition in the news back in Jan, on the front of the Globe business section?

    >Teams participating in last year’s Synthetic Biology Competition wrote snippets of DNA code that were then inserted into bacteria or yeast, creating biological machines. The objective of the competition was, simply, to design the coolest machine.

    >Consensus was that the Texans triumphed, with a tiny lawn of E. coli bacteria that had been programmed to act like a piece of Kodak film, holding an image that had been projected onto it. (Their clever message, spelled out in gold amidst an orange field, was a nod to the student’s traditional first attempt in a new programming language: “Hello World.”) But Caltech’s entry wasn’t bad, either: yeast that changed color based on whether it was immersed in regular coffee, decaf, or espresso.

    This widget won’t let me post the link. Rats.

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