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Synthetic Biology

Synthetic Biology is the engineering of biology: the synthesis of complex, biologically based - or inspired - systems which display functions that do not exist in nature. Synthetic Biology takes the knowledge and understanding we now have of the individual parts of biological systems and uses these in a defined way to design and build novel artificial biological systems. The modelling, rational and systematic design of biology may help us to address the major challenges of the future, for example "cell factories" designed for the easier whole-bioprocess manufacture of new therapeutics or sustainable high-value chemicals and modified cells for cell therapy.

Traditional biology has sought to understand existing biological systems. We are now beginning to understand enough of the 'rules' of the construction of these natural systems to be able to design and build more complex biological devices using simple 'components'. These components can be used in a standardised manner and combined to construct novel genetic constructs or devices, metabolic pathways, diagnostic or electronic devices, and whole cells and organisms. The components can be proteins, DNA, RNA or well understood or modeled segments of metabolism.

At UCL, a particular strength is close linkage to the Bioprocessing research theme which enables us to address the scale-up and industrial application of Synthetic Biology outcomes.

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