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A. The National Science Foundation Funds a Synthetic Biology Center

Narrator: This is Science Today. The National Science Foundation is funding a 16 million dollar, multi-institution synthetic biology center at the University of California , Berkeley , which will strive to engineer biology as quickly and easily as it is now to assemble hard drives and memory chips into a computer. The Synthetic Biology Engineering Research Center , or SynBERC, will be led by bio- and chemical engineer, Jay Keasling.

Keasling: Synthetic biology is really putting engineering to biology. The goal of the center is to engineer biology and to discover how one can engineer biology and then use that on some cutting edge applications.

Narrator: Such as developing anti-cancer microbes or the efficient production of a plant-based transportation fuel. The key, Keasling says, is setting standards for biological components similar to those of the microelectronics industry.

Keasling: Where we set standards for our parts and you're able to essentially buy biological components and assemble them to create a functioning, larger system that might develop a drug for you, that might produce a transportation fuel.

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