Synthetic Biology

Synthetic biology refers to a set of concepts, approaches, and tools within biotechnology that enable the modification or creation of biological organisms. Synthetic biology aims to improve the process of genetic engineering, and is hallmarked by the adoption of approaches common to other engineering disciplines, standardization of components, use of software and computational modeling for designing biological systems, and iterative Design-Build-Test (DBT) cycles for continuous improvement.

Recent Publications

Nature Communications, Volume 11

Nature Communications, Volume 11 | Dec. 9, 2020

The biosecurity benefits of genetic engineering attribution

Gerald L. Epstein et al.

In a recent volume of Nature Communications, Dr. Gerald Epstein and colleagues examine the biosecurity benefits of genetic engineering attribution. This paper is a policy companion piece to a technical paper, published in the same issue, announcing new results in using machine learning to recognize the source of a genetically engineered DNA.



| Dec. 2, 2019

Synthetic Biology Industry Practices and Opportunities for Biosecurity and Potential Roles for the U.S. Government

Sarah R. Carter and Diane DiEuliis

This report summarizes discussions with industry representatives about the current and future structure of the synthetic biology industry, perspectives on potential misuse and vulnerabilities of synthetic biology tools and capabilities, and business practices to prevent misuse of tools and to protect industry assets.



| July 9, 2018

The Digitization of Biology: Understanding the New Risks and Implications for Governance

Natasha E. Bajema, Diane DiEuliis, Charles Lutes, and Yong-Bee Lim

In research paper no. 3, Dr. Natasha Bajema, Dr. Diane DiEuliis, Mr. Charles Lutes and Mr. Yong-Bee Lim explore the implications of the digitization of biology, identify new risks and challenges for governance.



| April 4, 2018

Biodata Risks and Synthetic Biology: A Critical Juncture

Diane DiEuliis, Charles D. Lutes, & James Giordano

The tools of synthetic biology and the life sciences are rapidly advancing, as the ability to apply classical engineering to biological systems creates increasing possibilities for innovations in health and medicine, materials science, energy and agriculture



| Oct. 3, 2017

Options for Synthetic DNA Order Screening, Revisited

Diane DiEuliis

DNA synthesis is a valuable research tool in the design of new biological products for medicine and manufacturing, and the ability to chemically synthesize long tracts of DNA has allowed for the development of influenza vaccines and diagnostic tests.