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Issue 4, 2016
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Nature versus design: synthetic biology or how to build a biological non-machine

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Abstract

The engineering ideal of synthetic biology presupposes that organisms are composed of standard, interchangeable parts with a predictive behaviour. In one word, organisms are literally recognized as machines. Yet living objects are the result of evolutionary processes without any purposiveness, not of a design by external agents. Biological components show massive overlapping and functional degeneracy, standard-free complexity, intrinsic variation and context dependent performances. However, although organisms are not full-fledged machines, synthetic biologists may still be eager for machine-like behaviours from artificially modified biosystems.

Graphical abstract: Nature versus design: synthetic biology or how to build a biological non-machine

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Article information


Submitted
25 Sep 2015
Accepted
11 Nov 2015
First published
13 Nov 2015

This article is Open Access

Integr. Biol., 2016,8, 451-455
Article type
Review Article

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