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A Life of Its Own

September 28th, 2009 | Posted in The New Yorker, Articles | No Comments
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Download a PDF Where will synthetic biology lead us?
by Michael Specter

The first time Jay Keasling remembers hearing the word “artemisinin, ” about a decade ago, he had no idea what it meant. “Not a clue, ” Keasling, a professor of biochemical engineering at the University of California at Berkeley, recalled. Although artemisinin has become the world’s most important malaria medicine, Keasling wasn’t an expert on infectious diseases. But he happened to be in the process of creating a new discipline, synthetic biology, which—by combining elements of engineering, chemistry, computer science, and molecular biology—seeks to assemble the biological tools necessary to redesign the living world. Read more »