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Programmable Bio-synthesis
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1Quantum Revolution& Advanced AI2HumanAugmentation3Eco-Regeneration& Geo-Engineering4Science& Diplomacy1.11.21.31.42.12.22.32.43.13.23.33.43.54.14.24.34.44.5HIGHEST ANTICIPATIONPOTENTIALAdvancedArtificial IntelligenceQuantumTechnologiesBrain-inspiredComputingBiologicalComputingCognitiveEnhancementHuman Applications of Genetic EngineeringRadical HealthExtensionConsciousnessAugmentation DecarbonisationWorldSimulationFuture FoodSystemsSpaceResourcesOceanStewardshipComplex Systems forSocial EnhancementScience-basedDiplomacyInnovationsin EducationSustainableEconomicsCollaborativeScience Diplomacy
1Quantum Revolution& Advanced AI2HumanAugmentation3Eco-Regeneration& Geo-Engineering4Science& Diplomacy1.11.21.31.42.12.22.32.43.13.23.33.43.54.14.24.34.44.5HIGHEST ANTICIPATIONPOTENTIALAdvancedArtificial IntelligenceQuantumTechnologiesBrain-inspiredComputingBiologicalComputingCognitiveEnhancementHuman Applications of Genetic EngineeringRadical HealthExtensionConsciousnessAugmentation DecarbonisationWorldSimulationFuture FoodSystemsSpaceResourcesOceanStewardshipComplex Systems forSocial EnhancementScience-basedDiplomacyInnovationsin EducationSustainableEconomicsCollaborativeScience Diplomacy

Sub-Field:

1.4.3Programmable Bio-synthesis

Generally, the study of how environmental signals affect and direct intracellular processes has been confined to a fairly narrow range of examples. But it is fair to assume that natural evolution will have found solutions to myriad problems that we have not examined, and thus that we have not identified biological organisms whose properties and metabolisms are uniquely suited to performing functions in a swathe of interesting niche scenarios.
Engineered living systems are likely to be useful in situations where their natural autonomy and ability to thrive in uncertain environments gives them an edge over traditionally designed, silicon-based engineering solutions. We are already beginning to see the fruits of exploring this. Biosynthesis is being deployed in aviation security, for example, with genetically engineered odorant receptors designed to literally sniff out biological hazards.10 It is likely that significant medical applications will eventually be found,11 and that suitably engineered bacterial networks will be able to achieve large-scale bioremediation of, for example, environmental pollution, through operation on whole ecosystems.

Future Horizons:

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5-yearhorizon

Engineered cells assist medical diagnosis

Human cells are programmed, synthesised and engineered to detect and respond to illness such as tumours.

10-yearhorizon

Biocomputers begin to solve human issues

Bacterial metabolic computing is routinely used to find remediation solutions to pollution, diagnosis pathways for disease and provide atmospheric sensing tools.

25-yearhorizon

New bioremediation and hybrid hardware solutions emerge

Networks of bacteria are employed to clean up environmental pollution. High density arrays of cells (bacteria, for example) on chips, with clear, translatable signal input and output mechanisms, will be performing “intelligent” inference functions such as diagnosing disease from breath.

Programmable Bio-synthesis - Anticipation Scores

How the experts see this field in terms of the expected time to maturity, transformational effect across science and industries, current state of awareness among stakeholders and its possible impact on people, society and the planet. See methodology for more information.

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