Full Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of Valencia (Spain) and researcher at the Institute of Integrative Systems Biology I2SysBio (University of Valencia - CSIC). He is a member of the Institute for Catalan Studies and the founding partner of Darwin Bioprospecting Excellence SL (Science Park of the University of Valencia). He explains metabolism to biotechnology students and, as a member of the Biotechnology and Synthetic Biology lab, his research interests include bioprospecting, metabolic modelling, and the history of ideas about the natural origin and artificial synthesis of life.
The role of the victim assigned to Rosalind Franklin in the legend of the double helix should not overshadow her brilliant contributions, which are often ignored when her scientific career is outlined.
The concept of standardization is linked to the industrial revolution and mass production of goods through assembly lines. The question we will try to answer is the extent to which standards can be achieved in the biological realm.
In the field of biotechnology and synthetic biology – which aims at studying living things from the point of view of engineering – standards are desirable, but it has yet to be proved that they can be widely adopted.
We need to rethink many aspects of our daily lives, of our values, of our economic and cultural practices; in short, of our coexistence with the rest of nature and, especially, of our respect for non-human animals.
Knowing the detailed genomes of viruses and their phylogenies allows us to understand the origin of the outbreak. Was it a zoonosis from bats or were other hosts involved? Where did this fatal transition occur? What is the rate of change of the virus?
It is clear that the term synthetic biology raises expectations, but it is no less true that it also causes concern. This article starts with a critique of the identification of cells as machines and discusses the current scope of synthetic biology and efforts to standardise it. We also outline some of the social implications of attempts to manufacture life.