Synthetic biology is a relatively new area of research, and has not yet been clearly defined.
In broad terms:
Synthetic biology is an emerging, multidisciplinary technology at the intersection of engineering, bioscience, chemistry, and information technology.
This new and exciting area of research combines science and engineering in order to design and build (or ‘synthesize') novel biological functions, parts and systems as well as redesigning existing natural biological systems for useful purposes.
Synthetic biology uses engineering concepts to leverage the power of biology. Through the design and construction of biological systems it is now possible to turn organisms into living factories, capable of producing chemicals previously attainable only through expensive extractions or through the use of petrochemicals and other non-renewable resources.
Find out more about the applications of synthetic biology >>
"Synthetic Biology is an emerging area of research that combines engineering and biology. By applying engineering principles (such as our understanding of motors, wings or robots) to biological systems (such as bacteria, viruses or molecules like DNA), we may be able to re-design, or create from scratch, biological systems that perform new functions. For example, it may be possible to engineer a biological vehicle that delivers drugs to a specific site in the body, or bacteria that break down toxic chemicals into harmless products."
"Synthetic Biology is the engineering of biology. It is an exciting new area of research combining science and engineering to design and build new biological functions and systems, and to understand existing biological life through its rational re-design."
"It is designing and making biological parts (components) and systems that do not exist in the natural world, as well as re-designing existing biological systems, using engineering principles"
"Synthetic Biology is an emerging research area that aims to use the knowledge we now have of the components of biological systems and use these in a defined way to design and build novel artificial biological systems."