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Synthetic Biology — An Inquiry

Dubec, Linda LU (2013) HEKM50 20131
Human Ecology
Abstract
Synthetic biology, a branch of the life sciences, can be summarized as the deliberate attempt to design living organisms. It is an emerging technoscience and a potential platform technology portrayed as possibly the next industrial revolution. This thesis is an inquiry into synthetic biology; an exploration based on observations in text. An explorative tool is the question: What is synthetic biology? I explore accomplishments, applications and approaches within synthetic biology such as BioBricks and the standardization of biological parts; the ‘birth’ of Synthia (Mycoplasma laboratorium); de-extinction; synthetic biology as a potential assistant in nature conservation; and the quest to replace agricultural production and fossil sources... (More)
Synthetic biology, a branch of the life sciences, can be summarized as the deliberate attempt to design living organisms. It is an emerging technoscience and a potential platform technology portrayed as possibly the next industrial revolution. This thesis is an inquiry into synthetic biology; an exploration based on observations in text. An explorative tool is the question: What is synthetic biology? I explore accomplishments, applications and approaches within synthetic biology such as BioBricks and the standardization of biological parts; the ‘birth’ of Synthia (Mycoplasma laboratorium); de-extinction; synthetic biology as a potential assistant in nature conservation; and the quest to replace agricultural production and fossil sources for oils and chemicals through the engineering of microbes. I conclude that synthetic biology is guided by an engineering vision and a reductionist paradigm in that: biology is seen as a science that can be made predictable; biological organisms are approached with an anti-complexity view; parts of an organism are seen as sufficient for properties of the whole; and species are seen as detached from their ecological context. I also conclude that synthetic biology is challenging culturally fixed boundaries and understandings and that it explains life as software, or as information process and code. I also conclude that it is a mystification of production, a fetish that conceals rather than reveals and a project of ecological modernization. Finally, I conclude that synthetic biology is producing an idea that any living being potentially can be any other which I suggest needs more inquiring. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
Dubec, Linda LU
supervisor
organization
course
HEKM50 20131
year
type
H2 - Master's Degree (Two Years)
subject
keywords
Synthetic biology
language
English
id
3768599
date added to LUP
2013-09-26 10:18:28
date last changed
2013-09-26 10:18:28
@misc{3768599,
  abstract     = {Synthetic biology, a branch of the life sciences, can be summarized as the deliberate attempt to design living organisms. It is an emerging technoscience and a potential platform technology portrayed as possibly the next industrial revolution. This thesis is an inquiry into synthetic biology; an exploration based on observations in text. An explorative tool is the question: What is synthetic biology? I explore accomplishments, applications and approaches within synthetic biology such as BioBricks and the standardization of biological parts; the ‘birth’ of Synthia (Mycoplasma laboratorium); de-extinction; synthetic biology as a potential assistant in nature conservation; and the quest to replace agricultural production and fossil sources for oils and chemicals through the engineering of microbes. I conclude that synthetic biology is guided by an engineering vision and a reductionist paradigm in that: biology is seen as a science that can be made predictable; biological organisms are approached with an anti-complexity view; parts of an organism are seen as sufficient for properties of the whole; and species are seen as detached from their ecological context. I also conclude that synthetic biology is challenging culturally fixed boundaries and understandings and that it explains life as software, or as information process and code. I also conclude that it is a mystification of production, a fetish that conceals rather than reveals and a project of ecological modernization. Finally, I conclude that synthetic biology is producing an idea that any living being potentially can be any other which I suggest needs more inquiring.},
  author       = {Dubec, Linda},
  keyword      = {Synthetic biology},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Synthetic Biology — An Inquiry},
  year         = {2013},
}