måndag 16 maj 2011

Art and film helps to sell living technology and synthetic biology.

Synthetic biology presents one of the most dynamic fields of biotech research. As synthetic biology develops into an applied technology, it is important that scientists, stakeholders and the public communicate in an interactive way. Look at this picture how diverse areas it is.The Science, Art and Film Festival Bio:Fiction in 13-14 May 2011 at the Museum of Natural History in Vienna, Austria, offered a new approach to communicating and discussing synthetic biology. It brought together a public audience with scientists, social scientists, filmmakers and artists. The main objective of the festival was to provide information and dialogue about synthetic biology in an attractive and interdisciplinary manner.

They mean to emballage the concept in a pleasant manner so it can be easily selled to politicians. Do you buy it?

The Science, Art and Film Festival relies on three main pillars:

  1. Film festival: Bio:Fiction will include the world's first synthetic biology film festival. Our call for film submissions in 2010 triggered submission of 130 short films, of which 45 were pre-selected as being relevant to synthetic biology.
  2. Bio-art exhibition 'Synth-ethics': The Festival marks also the start of the art exhibition 'Synth-ethics' in the Museum, which presents biotech art objects related to synthetic biology.
  3. Science talks and panel discussions: The program is designed to attract scientists, social scientists, students, the media and the general public to allow for an interdisciplinary program and exchange of ideas.
What is synthetic biology?
This is how it is presented:
Synthetic biology is a new area of biological research that combines science and engineering. Synthetic biology emcompasses a variety of different approaches, methodologies and disciplines, with the aim to design and construction of new biological functions and systems not found in nature. Synthetic biology is based on genetic engineering but goes much further. In genetic engineering the goal was to manipulate an organism’s genes, usually by transferring one gene from a donor to a host organisms. Synthetic biology, on the other hand, aims at creating whole new biological functions, systems and eventually organisms.

1. Engineering DNA-based biological circuits, including standard biological parts:

Instead of just transfering one gene, a whole system is built in an organisms (e.g. an oscillator, an on-off switch, a more complicated multi-step chemical synthesis of a useful biomolecule, biocomputer).

2. Defining a minimal genome/minimal life (top-down):

Taking a bacteria that already has a very small genome (i.e. number of base pairs) and reduce it even further until the organisms cannot survive any longer. That way we can define and understand the smallest possible genome that still sustains life. This minimal life will also forma „chassis“ for hosting the biocircuits described above.

3. Constructing synthetic cells or protocells from scratch or bottom-up:

In an attempt to prove Pasteur’s “law of biogenesis” (Omne vivum ex vivo, Latin for, “all life [is] from life”) incomplete, scientists are now trying to produce synthetic cellular life form from simple chemical ingredients.

4. Creating orthogonal biological systems based on a biochemistry not found in nature:

All forms of life on earth use the famous DNA molecule. Now scientists are constructing different molecules with similar functions (e.g. the XNA, Xenonucleicacid) to construct living systems that have never existed before, as a way to avoid interference with naturally evolved DNA while doing biotechnology.

5. The chemical synthesis of DNA

So far DNA could only be created by life itself, but now special DNA synthesis machines can actually “print” DNA the way we want it. Scientist can e.g. download the genetic code of a virus (and eventually bacteria) and construct its DNA with this machine.

By applying the toolbox of engineering disciplines to biology, a whole set of potential applications become possible. Some of the potential benefits of synthetic biology, such as the development of low-cost drugs or the production of chemicals and energy by engineered bacteria are enormous. There are, however, also potential and perceived risks due to deliberate or accidental damage, as well as ethical questions. In order to ensure a vital and successful development of this new scientific field – in addition to describe the potential benefits – it is absolutely necessary to gather information also about the risks and to devise possible biosafety strategies to minimize them.

Adam and Eve and the Origin of Life? Is this art? The dance of Life?

And a whole list of links...

About synthetic biology
Societal aspects of synthetic biology
flesh eating hybrid robots

We should start talking ethics immidiately. Are human consciousness really ready for this? There should happen a giant jump for a better world, but we are even incapable of solving our big problems, as climate change, food-and water supply, minerals, sustainablity, problems with the monetary systems etc. The main problem for them all is lack of ethics.

Do we really think we should handle this one better? Are we dreaming? Or must there be a great extinction more?

The main problem are our illusions of personal body, and everything it needs. We laugh at the Egyptian Kings that had all supplies they would ever need with them in their graves. We are not at all better. Our illusionary body needs so much.

Still it is made from the environment that we destroy. So, in fact, we destroy ourselves.

And this new technology is linked to 'The New World Order', Illuminati. Is that a serious threat?

Concerns about violating nature are sometimes connected to the worry that creating synthetic cells would be playing God.
Are we godlike enough to pursue synthetic biology and protocell science? Some say "Yes", some say "No". Either way, the pragmatic worry about playing God is serious and deserves the full attention of all of us, even atheists.

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