Chemical Synthetic Biology

  • Author: ChemViews
  • Published Date: 08 April 2012
  • Source / Publisher: Angewandte Chemie International Edition/Wiley-VCH
  • Copyright: Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim
thumbnail image: Chemical Synthetic Biology

The book Chemical Synthetic Biology edited by Pier Luigi Luisi, Professor Emeritus, and Cristiano Chiarabelli, both ETH Zürich, Switzerland, covers a dynamic new area of research at the interface of science and engineering.


In her review in Angewandte Chemie, Susanne Brakmann, Dortmund University of Technology, Germany, says:

In its most popular meaning, synthetic biology “… seeks to use natural parts of biological systems […] to create assemblies that do things that are not done by natural biology”, [1] for example, the biotechnological production of fuels or fine chemicals. In contrast, the synthetic biology performed by chemists has the opposite aim: “… to use unnatural molecular parts to do things that are done by natural biology”, and thereby to reach a chemical understanding of life.[1]

The book Chemical Synthetic Biology is an up-to-date collection of review articles edited by Luisi and Chiarabelli, which aims to give a topical survey from the chemical point of view.


The unique collection of review articles presented is an excellent source for understanding both the emergence and the importance of chemistry-based synthetic biology, as distinct from the more popular and applications-orientated bioengineering research in this field.


Besides the actual scientific information, the book also offers insights into some of the authors’ personal views and experiences.

As a whole, the book provides thought-provoking discussions that help one to sort and evaluate the prospects and risks of a synthetic biology.


[1] S. A. Benner, F. Chen, Z. Yang in Chemical Synthetic Biology (Eds.: P. L. Luisi, C. Chiarabelli), John Wiley & Sons, Hoboken, 2011.


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