Synthetic Biology: the constructionist agenda

Tom Knight


The incredible complexity of biological systems demands a variety of intellectual approaches. Biology has typically approached the problem using reductionist methods, carefully examining and modeling existing, highly complex systems.

In this talk, I would like to discuss an alternative approach: the technique of building biological systems as a means of greater understanding. Applying the core engineering principles of modularity, isolation, hierarchical construction, standards, and separation of concerns allows us to think about and manipulate biological systems from a different perspective, having important scientific and technological implications.