Synthetic biology involves the creation of natural biologic systems from scratch by assembling individual modules such as single genes or protein motifs. This field is the most recent addition to the areas of interdisciplinary research and is one of the few areas where biology, chemistry, physics, mathematics, and engineering meet to explore biological self-assembly and self-organization, as well as coupling of biological and nonbiological nanostructures.
In her Editorial in Angewandte Chemie, Petra Schwille from the Max Planck Institute for Biochemistry, Martinsried, Germany, discusses how chemical synthesis is essential for synthetic biology, in particular for the production of necessary functional features such as switchable membrane-targeting groups. Schwille goes on to point out that synthetic chemistry currently does not play a sufficent role in synthetic biology and that synthetic (bio)organic chemists can contribute a great deal to the field, for example in the de novo production or coupling of functional groups. She concludes that a complete coupling of scientific disciplines is required in order to efficiently engineer biological pathways.
- Chemistry Needed: Synthetic Biology as a New Incentive for Interdisciplinarity,
Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2013, 52(10).