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Synthetic biology

  • IASbaba
  • February 22, 2022
  • 0
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Synthetic biology

Part of: Prelims and GS-III  Science and technology 

Context: The 70-page ‘compilation’ document was recently released by the central government.

  • The government is working on a national policy on synthetic biology which is an emerging science that deals with engineering life forms for a wide range of applications from making designer medicines to foods.

Key takeaways 

  • The document lays out the state of synthetic biology internationally with respect to research and development and the involvement of the private sector, globally, in dealing with synthetic biology.
  • As part of the 12th Five-Year Plan, India had set up a task force on systems biology and synthetic biology research in 2011.
    • This body underlined the potential benefits from synthetic biotechnology in biofuels, bioremediation, biosensors, food and health.
    • It also strongly recommended for this technology.
  • However, Parliament is yet to clear the Biotechnology Regulatory Authority of India Bill, 2013, that could have included framework for synthetic biology. 

Synthetic biology

  • Synthetic biology refers to the science of using genetic sequencing, editing, and modification to create unnatural organisms or organic molecules that can function in living systems.
  • It enables scientists to design and synthesise new sequences of DNA from scratch.
  • It is also seen as one of the top 10 breakthrough technologies as part of the “new industrial revolution” that are “most likely to change the world”.
  • Regulation of both the benefits and risks is important.
  • The current laws and regulations framework often fail to fully adapt to the evolving possibilities of synthetic biology.
  • Instances of application: use of gene editing systems such as CRISPR that allow defective genes in animals, plants and even people to be silenced, or changed, and control biological outcomes.

News Source: TH

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