A Perfume That Smells Like Roses—But Is Actually Made from Yeast

A rose is a rose is a rose, except when it's actually a yeast. A company called Gingko BioWorks in Boston is partnering with French fragrance company Robertet to create a genetically-modified yeast that makes the rose oil used in perfumes. » 3/05/15 2:00am 3/05/15 2:00am

What happens when amateur scientists doing synthetic biology as DiY projects, building new organisms and modifying old ones? A group of scientists raised the alarm about the risks of backyard synbio in Nature recently, and it's the topic of a lively discussion on the Guardian's Science Weekly podcast. Check it out! » 1/13/15 2:15pm 1/13/15 2:15pm

Are The Threats From Synthetic Bioweapons Being Exaggerated?

The advent of synthetic biology and DNA synthesis has raised concern that amateurs will use these technologies to turn pathogens into weapons of mass destruction. But as experts point out, this may be far easier said than done. » 9/19/14 10:30am 9/19/14 10:30am

A New Kind of Baker's Yeast That Gets You High

Ask All Your Questions About Synthetic Biology!

What does it mean to design using living materials? Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg and Christina Agapakis will be here to answer your questions about synthetic biology and just what it might mean for the future. » 5/29/14 8:50am 5/29/14 8:50am

Synthetic biology has reignited the debate over destroying remaining smallpox samples in the U.S. and Russia. The ability to construct the virus artificially, some public health experts argue, would eliminate any relevance of laboratory stockpiles. » 5/22/14 3:46pm 5/22/14 3:46pm

This plant has been genetically engineered to provide mood lighting

By splicing genes from a bioluminescent bacteria with a common decorative plant called Nicotiana alata, engineers have created the first biological light source for your home. This is the first glimpse of a future world where synthetic biology transforms our lives. » 1/14/14 5:13pm 1/14/14 5:13pm

We need GMOs to feed a growing population

Now that many environmentalists are coming around to the idea that GMOs don't have to be evil, we need a more nuanced view of how we want to use GMOs in agriculture. When is it a good idea to use GMOs, and when is it overkill? » 1/09/14 10:54am 1/09/14 10:54am

How synthetic biology could save bats (and the world)

One of the most terrifying epidemics of the modern era isn't among humans at all. It's a deadly fungus that attacks bats in the Americas, and it has an almost 100 percent fatality rate. A bat extinction could destroy humanity, too — but some scientists think there's an unusual solution on the horizon. » 12/30/13 9:59am 12/30/13 9:59am

12 Real Life Inventions That Science Fiction is Neglecting at its Peril

Science fiction has always commented on the present, and today's present is very science-fictional. All around, we see inventions that could transform the world within a decade or two. So why don't more science fiction writers speculate about them? Here are 12 real-life developments science fiction should be… » 12/03/13 10:38am 12/03/13 10:38am

In the future, our food will come alive and interact with us

Food is so boring. It just sits there, waiting to be eaten. But what if it could writhe around and interact with us, prior to being devoured? This is the dream of bio-artist Minsu Kim, who envisions the day when our food comes alive. » 7/02/13 11:45am 7/02/13 11:45am

Make your own DNA

We love the idea of the Glowing Plant Project, which will teach you about synthetic biology by allowing you to do some. The group has a Kickstarter campaign that, if successful, will allow anybody to grow a glowing plant from jellyfish DNA and a mustard flower. » 4/23/13 2:40pm 4/23/13 2:40pm

The comic book that can explain synthetic biology to anyone

Want to understand how synthetic biology might change the world? Here's a scientific video for you. Too much? But wait, there's also a comic book . . . » 4/02/13 4:21pm 4/02/13 4:21pm

To create sustainable energy, we must take control of evolution

Over at Slate, Jennifer Ouellette has a terrific profile of Frances Arnold, a synthetic biologist who has taken the course of evolution into her own hands. Her goal is to create new organisms that could help us create better forms of renewable energy. From the article: » 3/08/13 3:50pm 3/08/13 3:50pm

If you read only one book about the future of biology, this should be it

Just a few decades ago, genetics was still largely theoretical, understood in principle but not practical – like flying cars or space lasers. Not anymore. Today teams of high-school students modify organisms for the iGEM competition; a library of over 20,000 biological parts made of DNA sequences (promoters,… » 12/10/12 1:32pm 12/10/12 1:32pm

How we'll use "teleporters" to stop the next pandemic

Okay, so imagine this: It's about twenty years from now and a serious pandemic hits. You're rightly terrified of leaving your house for fear of contracting the virus — but you know full well that you can't stay home forever. That's when you hit the internet and boot up your 3-D bio-printer. After downloading the… » 10/17/12 2:40pm 10/17/12 2:40pm

Breakthrough "genetic circuits" bring us closer to synthetic human cells

We're one step closer to building artificial cells. Synthetic biologists have found a new way to assemble "genetic circuits," components that perform logical operations in living cells. This breakthrough could facilitate the development of artificial cells designed to solve problems in medicine, energy, and the… » 8/08/12 4:30pm 8/08/12 4:30pm

Scientists engineer a cyborg jellyfish from rat cells and silicone

In this video, released yesterday, you can watch what might be called the world's first cyborg lifeform. Called a medusoid, it's a completely engineered jellyfish that blends living and non-living parts — specifically, the creature is a thin layer of rat heart muscle cells grown on top of a layer of elastic… » 7/23/12 7:00am 7/23/12 7:00am

Could your next hard drive be made with DNA?

Okay, so maybe not your next one, but in a few year's time? Maybe your storage will be writ across DNA itself. Researchers at Stanford have developed a method to store binary code on DNA. Dubbed the "recombinase addressable data (RAD) module," the method controls the synthesis and degradation of two proteins,… » 5/24/12 10:34am 5/24/12 10:34am