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Erasing Borders: A Brief Chronicle of Early Synthetic Biology

Synthetic Biology is currently presented as an emergent field involving the application of engineering principles to living matter. However, the scientific pursuit of making life in a laboratory is not new and has been the ultimate, if somewhat distant, aim of the origin-of-life research program for... Full description

Journal Title: Journal of molecular evolution 2016, Vol.83 (5-6), p.176-183
Main Author: Pereto, Juli
Format: Electronic Article Electronic Article
Language: English
Subjects:
Publisher: New York: Springer US
ID: ISSN: 0022-2844
Link: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27900404
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title: Erasing Borders: A Brief Chronicle of Early Synthetic Biology
format: Article
creator:
  • Pereto, Juli
subjects:
  • Animal Genetics and Genomics
  • Biochemistry
  • Bioengineering
  • Biology
  • Biomedical and Life Sciences
  • Cell Biology
  • Evolutionary Biology
  • History, 19th Century
  • History, 20th Century
  • Humans
  • Life Sciences
  • Microbiology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Plant Genetics and Genomics
  • Plant Sciences
  • Review
  • Synthetic Biology
ispartof: Journal of molecular evolution, 2016, Vol.83 (5-6), p.176-183
description: Synthetic Biology is currently presented as an emergent field involving the application of engineering principles to living matter. However, the scientific pursuit of making life in a laboratory is not new and has been the ultimate, if somewhat distant, aim of the origin-of-life research program for many years. Actually, over a century ago, the idea that the synthesis of life was indispensable to fully understand its nature already appealed to material scientists and evolutionists alike. Jacques Loeb proposed a research program from an engineering standpoint, following a synthetic method (experimental abiogenesis) and based on his mechanist vision of living beings, which he considered true chemical machines. Early synthetic biology endeavors, such as the premature experiments by Alfonso L. Herrera in Mexico, Stéphane Leduc in France, and John B. Burke in United Kingdom, were easily ridiculed on both scientific and ideological grounds. However, in retrospect, all those attempts should be considered as legitimate and sincere anti-vitalistic efforts to cross the apparent border between inert and living matter.
language: eng
source:
identifier: ISSN: 0022-2844
fulltext: no_fulltext
issn:
  • 0022-2844
  • 1432-1432
url: Link


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descriptionSynthetic Biology is currently presented as an emergent field involving the application of engineering principles to living matter. However, the scientific pursuit of making life in a laboratory is not new and has been the ultimate, if somewhat distant, aim of the origin-of-life research program for many years. Actually, over a century ago, the idea that the synthesis of life was indispensable to fully understand its nature already appealed to material scientists and evolutionists alike. Jacques Loeb proposed a research program from an engineering standpoint, following a synthetic method (experimental abiogenesis) and based on his mechanist vision of living beings, which he considered true chemical machines. Early synthetic biology endeavors, such as the premature experiments by Alfonso L. Herrera in Mexico, Stéphane Leduc in France, and John B. Burke in United Kingdom, were easily ridiculed on both scientific and ideological grounds. However, in retrospect, all those attempts should be considered as legitimate and sincere anti-vitalistic efforts to cross the apparent border between inert and living matter.
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subjectAnimal Genetics and Genomics ; Biochemistry ; Bioengineering ; Biology ; Biomedical and Life Sciences ; Cell Biology ; Evolutionary Biology ; History, 19th Century ; History, 20th Century ; Humans ; Life Sciences ; Microbiology ; Molecular Biology ; Plant Genetics and Genomics ; Plant Sciences ; Review ; Synthetic Biology
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abstractSynthetic Biology is currently presented as an emergent field involving the application of engineering principles to living matter. However, the scientific pursuit of making life in a laboratory is not new and has been the ultimate, if somewhat distant, aim of the origin-of-life research program for many years. Actually, over a century ago, the idea that the synthesis of life was indispensable to fully understand its nature already appealed to material scientists and evolutionists alike. Jacques Loeb proposed a research program from an engineering standpoint, following a synthetic method (experimental abiogenesis) and based on his mechanist vision of living beings, which he considered true chemical machines. Early synthetic biology endeavors, such as the premature experiments by Alfonso L. Herrera in Mexico, Stéphane Leduc in France, and John B. Burke in United Kingdom, were easily ridiculed on both scientific and ideological grounds. However, in retrospect, all those attempts should be considered as legitimate and sincere anti-vitalistic efforts to cross the apparent border between inert and living matter.
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