Image source: EQUINOX GRAPHICS/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
If you have ever played with Lego, you know that with few bricks you can build many different objects and shapes. You could use the same bricks to build a house, a tree, or even an aeroplane.
Some scientists also build and design new molecular structures. Instead of using Lego, scientists can use the building blocks of life, DNA and genes (you can learn more about DNA and genes by looking at the other blog posts).
It is possible to build bacteria that are able to eat plastic or oil (which could be useful if oil spills in the sea), synthesise chemicals and even produce medicines. Alternatively, you could design and make plants that are less susceptible to infections, or that produce a particular vitamin. There are even microorganisms that can recycle agricultural waste and turn into soap.
Synthetic biology approaches can be used to understand and harness the capabilities of any form of life, so the possibilities of what you can do really are endless.
If you would like to learn more, watch this great video:
Try the activity below to help you to understand synthetic biology better:
What you will need?
What do you have to do?
Scientists also build “structures” in the laboratory using the bricks of life, DNA and genes. Using different “bricks” they can design and build new organism with different functions. Different scientists, just like you and your teammate, can make structures that are similar but have different functions and different components.
Finally, some further reading can be found below:
Blog post by Alessia and Philippa