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18 JULY, 2017 (MAINS)

TODAYS ANSWER WRITING CHALLENGE FROM GS-III

 

Q1. “Synthetic biology is the redesign of existing biological systems.”What is the concept of synthetic biology? Mention its advantages. Why should India have a policy on synthetic biology? (200 words)

 

Please write the answer in comments section

  • Ashish

    Synthetic biology is the design and construction of new biological entities such as enzymes, genetic circuits, and cells or the redesign of existing biological systems. Synthetic biology builds on the advances in molecular, cell, and systems biology and seeks to transform biology.
    The element that distinguishes synthetic biology from traditional molecular and cellular biology is the focus on the design and construction of core components (parts of enzymes, genetic circuits, metabolic pathways, etc.) that can be modeled, understood, and tuned to meet specific performance criteria, and the assembly of these smaller parts and devices into larger integrated systems to solve specific problems.

    ADVANTAGES:

    Benefits to Environment
    Scientists could use synthetic biology to detect and remove environmental contaminants and create safer and cleaner air for us to breathe and water for us to drink.

    Preventing and Curing Diseases
    They could also apply synthetic biology to applications that would diagnose, monitor and respond to disease in humans and animals and develop new drugs and vaccines that would be more effective and efficient than ever before. Large-scale production of a partially synthetic version of artemisinin will help secure part of the world’s supply and maintain the cost of this raw material at acceptable levels for public health authorities around the world and ultimately benefit patients.

    Research in synthetic biology may lead to new things such as programmed cells that self-assemble at the sites of disease to repair damage.

    Boost Industries
    Synthetic biology could be used to create enzymes for bolstering biofuels, as well as increase efficiency in biomanufacturing and chemical technology.

    Why India needs a policy on Synthetic Biology?
    While synthetic biology offers solution to a potential number of diseases it could also have far reaching disastrous effects:

    Risks to ecosystem:
    If synthetic life is released into the environment, whether done deliberately in a potential environmental application or by accident, it could have an adverse effect on our ecosystem.

    Bioterrorism:
    These technologies could be used for bioterrorism that would do enormous amount of damage, because synthetic biology allows for the construction of microorganisms that would have incapacitating, or lethal, effects on humans.

    Fear based criticism:
    Philosophical and religious thinkers invoke things like it goes against God etc.
    In view of the above positives and negatives it becomes imperative to frame a national policy.

  • Ashish

    Synthetic biology is the design and construction of new biological entities such as enzymes, genetic circuits, and cells or the redesign of existing biological systems. Synthetic biology builds on the advances in molecular, cell, and systems biology and seeks to transform biology.
    The element that distinguishes synthetic biology from traditional molecular and cellular biology is the focus on the design and construction of core components (parts of enzymes, genetic circuits, metabolic pathways, etc.) that can be modeled, understood, and tuned to meet specific performance criteria, and the assembly of these smaller parts and devices into larger integrated systems to solve specific problems.

    ADVANTAGES:

    Benefits to Environment
    Scientists could use synthetic biology to detect and remove environmental contaminants and create safer and cleaner air for us to breathe and water for us to drink.

    Preventing and Curing Diseases
    They could also apply synthetic biology to applications that would diagnose, monitor and respond to disease in humans and animals and develop new drugs and vaccines that would be more effective and efficient than ever before. Large-scale production of a partially synthetic version of artemisinin will help secure part of the world’s supply and maintain the cost of this raw material at acceptable levels for public health authorities around the world and ultimately benefit patients.

    Research in synthetic biology may lead to new things such as programmed cells that self-assemble at the sites of disease to repair damage.

    Boost Industries
    Synthetic biology could be used to create enzymes for bolstering biofuels, as well as increase efficiency in biomanufacturing and chemical technology.

    But all the above do not come without any riders attached. While synthetic biology offers solution to a potential number of diseases it could also have far reaching disastrous effects:

    Risks to ecosystem:
    If synthetic life is released into the environment, whether done deliberately in a potential environmental application or by accident, it could have an adverse effect on our ecosystem.

    Bioterrorism:
    These technologies could be used for bioterrorism that would do enormous amount of damage, because synthetic biology allows for the construction of microorganisms that would have incapacitating, or lethal, effects on humans.

    Fear based criticism:
    Philosophical and religious thinkers invoke things like it goes against God etc.
    In view of the above positives and negatives it becomes imperative to frame a national policy.

    This makes it imperative for India to have a policy on synthetic biology.