This synthetic biology explainer involves Legos, Mark Ruffalo, and skateboards. Watch it
Originally published on Aug. 4, 2015.
Think about an airplane. Now, think about an itty bitty bacterium. Which one of these do you think is easier to make? I’ll give you a hint: It’s the one that millions of us ride on every year across vast distances.
We’re better at building airplanes than bacteria because we know everything there is to know about them: how they work, what they’re made of, how to to fly them. Bacteria? Not so much.
That’s because there’s always been this divide between technology — the inanimate stuff that we build — and biology — the living stuff that nature builds. It’s not that we can’t build living things; we just have to figure out how. And that’s exactly what synthetic biologists are trying to do. Check out the video above to see how.
More stories in this series:
This could be the green tech revolution that no one’s talking about.
Scientists are already using custom-built microbes to make things like perfumes and food additives.
Koert van Mensvoort’s vision of “Next Nature” doesn’t distinguish between what’s born and what’s built.
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