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Views and opinions from the world of synthetic biology

iGEM 2010 - Considering the human scale

James King reflects on his second year of participation at the iGEM Jamboree

iGEM 2010 was significantly different from iGEM 2009 — the projects were more ambitious and more varied, the presentations more polished, and there was a great deal more emphasis on the human practices track of the competition. I attended as an advisor to the ArtScience Bangalore Team — a collection of art students from the Srishti School of Art and Design who I have been working with alongside Yashas Shetty, their supervisor, and fellow designer Daisy Ginsberg.

SB4.0 - Moving from microorganisms to plants

Fernan Federici reflects on the growing community of researchers interested in plant synthetic biology.

The fourth international conference on Synthetic Biology (SB4.0) was recently held at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. With almost twice the number of attendees compared to SB3.0 in Zurich, SB4.0 saw the main leaders in the field congregate to share their work through 3 days of very exciting talks, workshops and poster exhibition. Main topics of focus in the sessions included biomedicine, biofuels, genetic circuits design, the iGEM competition, minimal cell construction and synthetic genomics.

SB4.0 - Ready for takeoff

Kim de Mora concludes from this year's conference that the synthetic biology community is reaching critical mass.

My experience of SB 4.0 almost felt like that of an external observer of the field. I've been involved in Synthetic Biology since participating in the iGEM competition in 2006, but this was my first SB conference. I had attended BioSysBio in 2007 and the BioBricks foundation meetings after iGEM in 2007, but SB 4.0 was just on another scale.

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SB4.0 - a social scientist's perspective

Jane Calvert reports on what stood out for her at the gathering in Hong Kong

For a social scientist, Synthetic Biology 4.0 was a very interesting experience. It included sessions on issues such as global social impact, biosecurity, future scenarios, intellectual property and commercialization. Also, in his closing comments to the conference, Drew Endy acknowledged that “we have new colleagues from social sciences, civil society organisations and industry”.

SB4.0 - moving from principles to practical applications

Baojun Wang feels that this year's conference reflects the fact that synthetic biology is now being put to work

Looking at the meeting agenda, I found there is a great difference between SB4.0 and SB3.0, which I attended last year in Zurich. A lot of practical applications using synthetic biology (including in industrial biotechnologies, medicine, energy and environment, etc.) filled this year’s meeting programme, while at SB3.0 there was a more focus on proof-of-principle examples and foundational technologies in this field.