if you build it they may come – could synthetic biology pave a swifter path to synthetic sentience than human coders?

iGEM grand prize winners Peking U


iGEM grand prize winners — Peking University team


Genetic-Engineering Competitors Create Modular DNA Dev Kit

WIRED, alerting source    by: Alexis Madrigal


“College and high school students are helping MIT scientists develop an open source development kit for biological systems that could do for cells what Linux has done for computers.

“As part of the International Genetically Engineered Machines competition held in Cambridge, Massachusetts, last week, Peking University students created tiny assembly lines out of bacteria. Their entry, “Towards a Self-Differentiated Bacterial Assembly Line,” won them the grand prize among 50 teams from around the world.

“‘Biology is going to be able to make the things that we want,” said Tom Knight, an MIT engineer and co-founder of iGEM. ‘And when that happens, the economics of production are going to change dramatically. It doesn’t take a billion-dollar [facility] to make stuff. It takes a hundred-dollar incubator.’

“The competition is a showcase for the burgeoning field of synthetic biology.

* * *

“The leader of the Peking University team, Yifan Yang, said that his team will refine its work back in China. He sees a wide variety of applications for his team’s project, including biosynthesis of hydrogen.” . . . (full article)

Image credit: iGEM 2007 wiki

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Newcomb’s commentary: ‘Learn to say “I do not know,” and you will progress.’ Maimonides



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