The human population is expected to reach nine billion by 2050. There are pressing questions about how to ensure a healthy diet for everyone while preventing overuse of natural resources or poisoning of the land, sea and air. Biotechnology could contribute to achieving sustainability but public perception of it is often linked only with exploitation potential. Could greater visibility of biotech’s green potential effectively communicate the more complex picture and how would this influence attitudes? Continue reading
Spiders produce silk and goats make milk. That’s hard to argue with. What if I told you that there is a tool to change it, what if I told you that in Utah, USA, there are goats that produce spider silk?
The tool which enables this inter-species “fusion” is a fairly new field of science, called synthetic biology. First time the term “synthetic biology” was mentioned in 1970s. You might think it’s something weird and “alien”. However, it’s much closer to you than you think. Let’s begin our journey through the “synthetic” world with insulin. Over 70% of the world’s insulin supply is produced by E.coli bacteria. It used to be extracted from pigs, but it was “messy” and inefficient. Then scientists thought, if only they could put a gene coding for human insulin into something that produces it rapidly and makes it easy to use… Turns out, they could! Continue reading