Synthetic Biology conference in Zurich

Back from the Synthetic Biology (SB) conference in Zurich.

I did not understand most of the details because I lack a biology background, but I came away with a few ideas:

  • they are trying to define the boundaries of the field, but they lack the technical tools to lower the barriers of entry (million dollars today); so right now nothing similar to the WWW is going to develop
  • the parts database that MIT is gathering is not that big (+400 parts?) and a large percentage of the parts could already be patented
  • they are trying to figure out what is the minimum number of genes necessary to sustain life (maybe 300?); others are trying to figure out how life started (not from 300 genes right away) :-)
  • they are trying to apply the typical mathematical framework of circuits (electrical engineering), differential equations and the likes; others are trying to find out a new mathematics based on networks, which mimics biology much better (I agree, but it is only a feeling I have)

I will probably continue studying biology, although we are a few years away from the moment when we will be able to bootstrap companies in the biology field.