Team:INSA Toulouse/contenu/human practice/ethical aspects



Ethical Aspects

What is synthetic biology?

Synthetic biology is an emerging research field in biology. It aims a double goal: i) find the minimum configuration necessary to permit the life, and ii) develop new biological functions, missing in today nature.

One of the older assay to produce a minimal genome organism was the Qβ RNA bacteriophage genome reduction in 1966 (Spiegelman and colleagues). The fashion term of synthetic biology was used since the publication in the 2000s of three Nature articles considered as founder in the acceleration of this discipline, due to molecular biology progress and “omic” data accumulation. Synthetic biology presents itself like the implementation of engineering approaches in living organisms. Indeed, it expects the standardization (due to the use of biobricks, a standard structure for DNA parts), the design of totally de novo synthetic biological functions and, on the opposite, the design of non-biological functions using biological part only as architectural structure.

The following articles are the result of intense cogitations and discussions that took place throughout the preparation of the competition between students at the iGEM team INSA Toulouse, and a philosophy student from the Catholic Institute at Toulouse.