Home | Biology | Difference Between Synthetic Biology and Genetic Engineering

Difference Between Synthetic Biology and Genetic Engineering

September 5, 2023
written by Sidra Batool

Synthetic Biology is the design and construction of new biological systems, while genetic engineering is the modification of existing biological systems. Both are fields of Biotechnology.

image showing Difference Between Synthetic Biology and Genetic Engineering

What is Genetic Engineering?

Genetic engineering is a more traditional approach that involves the transfer of genes from one organism to another.

This is done using a variety of techniques, such as recombinant DNA technology. It allows scientists to isolate genes from different organisms together.

What is Synthetic Biology?

Synthetic biology is a new field that takes a more engineering-based approach to the manipulation of genes.

In synthetic biology, scientists design and build new biological systems from scratch, using standardized genetic parts. It allows them to create organisms with unique properties that do not exist naturally.

For example, synthetic biologists have created bacteria that can produce biofuels, or yeast that can produce plastics.

Synthetic biology vs Genetic Engineering

Here are the main differences between Synthetic biology and Genetic Engineering:

FeatureGenetic engineeringSynthetic biology
ApproachTransferring genes from one organism to anotherDesigning and building new biological systems from scratch
ToolsRecombinant DNA technology, PCR, etc.Standardized genetic parts, engineering principles
GoalsModify existing organismsCreate new organisms with desired properties
ComplexityTypically modifies single genesCan modify entire genomes
RisksRelatively well-understoodStill being studied
RegulationRegulated by many countriesNot yet as widely regulated
Potential applicationsGenetically modified crops, bacteria that produce human insulin, vaccinesBiofuels, plastics, medicines, etc.
File Under: