The Cell Factories of the Future
- Posted on 4 November, 2019
Engineering biology is an exponentially growing field of research and exciting commercial developments. Every week brings new applications to prominence for their potential to improve our health, food system, environment and more. One such technology is microbial cell factories which have the potential to harness the building power of biology to produce some game changing applications. For example, spider silk, an extremely strong, yet lightweight material, can now be made in cell factories and incorporated into armoury for military defence.
Professor Paul Freemont, Co-Director of SynbiCITE, is the lead author of a recent article published by the World Economic Forum on this subject, entitled “How scientists are turning living cells into the tiny factories of the future”. Prof Freemont commented: “Engineering biology is accelerating our ability to exploit biology’s building capacity, resulting in the establishment of biofoundries worldwide which continue to drive our progress in this space. This is a very exciting time for the sector.”
These extraordinary advances do go hand-in-hand with the need for additional security awareness as well as proactive steps to address new risks. However, if managed well by facilitating knowledge-sharing, open technology development and the creation of common standards and reference materials (overseen by the Global Biofoundry Alliance launched earlier this year) this technology could offer huge advances in the near future.
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