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Redesigning living systems to give them new functions

Narrator:          This is Science Today. Synthetic biology is a new field of science that strives to predictively redesign living systems to give them new functions. For example, synthetic biologists have been working on various applications from creating fuels from waste plant matter to synthesizing new therapeutics. Caroline Ajo-Franklin, a staff scientist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, has been working in this field to create new applications for energy generation. She explains how synthetic biology is different from genetic engineering.

Ajo-Franklin:    There's a focus on making biology easier to engineer so that we can more reliably and more precisely create these new functions. While synthetic biology is new, humans changing living organisms is not; for thousands of years, humans have been domesticating animals and selectively breeding plants. Nature is constantly changing and evolving.

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