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Synthetic Biology Applications Inventory

This inventory starts to catalog the various commercial applications where synthetic biology is having an impact.

New technologies are often defined by a few iconic examples that capture the public imagination. While nanotechnology was defined in the early days by its applications like stain-resistant clothing and sunscreens, it took longer to realize that nanoscale science and engineering were having pervasive impacts across multiple economic sectors and products and creating significant potential for improvements in costs and efficiency.

Synthetic biology has so far been associated with a few limited applications, but this initial inventory provides a glimpse of its impact on multiple sectors, including energy, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, and food. The real power of synthetic biology may be creating a field of knowledge critical to the design of new technologies and manufacturing processes in general.

This draft inventory is an attempt to look over the horizon of this emerging science. It is a “work in progress” and we hope others will help us as we update and expand the inventory. Research on specific applications or near-commercial activities does not guarantee of eventual market entry and economic impact, but the breadth of commercial and upstream activity is important to track as the science advances.

A PDF of the draft inventory can be downloaded here.