Engineering Biology Research Consortium launches new synthetic biology roadmap : Biofuels Digest

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In California, genetically engineered trees that provide fire-resistant lumber for homes. Modified organs that won’t be rejected. Synthetic microbes that monitor your gut to detect invading disease organisms and kill them before you get sick.

These are just some of the exciting advances likely to emerge from the 20-year-old field of engineering biology, or synthetic biology, which is now mature enough to provide solutions to a range of societal problems, according to a new roadmap released by the Engineering Biology Research Consortium, a public-private partnership partially funded by the National Science Foundation and centered at the University of California, Berkeley.

The roadmap is the work of more than 80 scientists and engineers from a range of disciplines, representing more than 30 universities and a dozen companies. While highly technical, the report provides a strong case that the federal government should invest in this area, not only to improve public health, food crops and the environment, but also to fuel the economy and maintain the country’s leadership in synthetic biology. The report comes out in advance of the year’s major technical conference for synthetic biology, 2019 Synthetic Biology: Engineering, Evolution & Design, which takes place June 23-27 in New York City.

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