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The Future of Synthetic Biology

Narrator: This is Science Today. Synthetic biology is an emerging discipline that essentially puts engineering to biology in order to create new biological systems or redesign existing ones. Jay Keasling, a chemical and bio-engineer at the University of California, Berkeley, says once the standards for synthetic biology are set, it will make biology easier to do.

Keasling: Once we've set these standards and we understand how to put components together in a very reliable way, much as you can assemble components to build a computer right now or a radio, it will be easier to predict how to develop drugs and how to engineer microbes to produce those drugs. We might be able to produce fuels using biology that will compete strongly with petroleum. We'll be able to build sensing devices that will sense pathogens and might even sense tumors and other diseases within our bodies and then come up with a remedy that will be biology-based.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.