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