How to Create a New Life Form: Historian Sophia Roosth on the Future of Synthetic Biology

April 6, 2017

(The Verge) – The field of synthetic biology, or engineering new forms of life, is less than two decades old, but its pioneers are responsible for some of the most interesting projects coming out of labs today: inscribing lines of James Joyce onto a synthetic genome, reproducing the smell of a rose without actually needing a rose, and possibly bringing back the extinct woolly mammoth.  So how did this field get started? Where do synthetic creatures belong on the family tree? And how does the language we use when we describe synthetic biology shape the field? The Verge spoke with Sophia Roosth, a historian of science at Harvard University who spent years studying the culture of synthetic biology for her new book, Synthetic: How Life is Made.

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