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Businesses should learn to use syn-bio to develop new products and processes, improve existing ones, and reduce costs to remain competitive in the future as synthetic biology technologies are advancing and becoming the way almost anything can be manufactured competitively and sustainably.
FREMONT, CA:Synthetic biology or Syn-bio has become a disruptive force giving rise to the Bio-Economy. Syn-bio has turned science into the manufacturing paradigm of the future. With microorganisms creating things that industrial processes currently manufacture, syn-bio offers new ways of producing everything human beings consume, from flavours and fabric to foods and fuels.
Today, supply is no longer constrained by the availability of raw materials. Companies can engineer and manufacture an infinite number of products from the beginning. Syn-bio has given rise to the industry of science-based start-ups trying to change conventional products and processes, transforming the material world.
New genome-editing technologies like CRISPR-Cas9 help to create novel DNA combinations, reduce editing DNA costs, and increase the length of DNA strands that can be replicated without error. The improving viability of cell-free biology allows companies to use metabolic cell processes that do not require live cells and make testing faster using biosensors. Like data and cloud computing, DNA and DNA editing are spurring the creation of a new production frontier.
Syn-bio is expected to be used extensively in manufacturing industries that account for more than a third of global output.
In fact, due to real-time data collection, automation, and AI, few sectors feel more impact than others. However, incumbents in industries like health and beauty, medical devices, and electronics will be challenged by syn-bio rivals as the pharmaceutical and food companies have already been. Industries like chemicals, textiles, fashion, and water will encounter cost-based competition from syn-bio alternatives in the medium run, followed in the long term by firms such as mining, electricity, and even construction.
With the increasing world biology knowledge, declining DNA writing and editing costs, and synthesising tools becoming easier to use, Syn-bio’s frontiers will continue to expand. New products and processes will be created similar to science fiction but ripe to go mainstream. In addition, the syn-bio start-ups are engineering more sustainable products consuming fewer resources, such as land and water, and avoiding fossil fuels usage and their derivatives. These products are also more durable, generate less waste after use, and are healthier for humans in many cases. Adopting this interesting technology immediately is essential, especially since business and science have tended to function in separate spheres until now. Companies also need to learn to use syn-bio to gain a competitive advantage, a sustainable one.
Furthermore, syn-bio pioneers are using science to achieve five different goals such as improving the performance of existing products or processes, reducing the costs or increasing the availability of scarce raw materials, creating products or raw materials that are more environmentally friendly, and catalyse resilient supply chains.