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Synthetic biology is a rapidly growing field that has emerged in a global, multidisciplinary effort among biologists, chemists, engineers, physicists, and mathematicians. Broadly, the field has two complementary goals: To improve understanding of biological systems through mimicry and to produce bio-orthogonal systems with new functions. Here we review the area specifically with reference to the concept of synthetic biology space, that is, a hierarchy of components for, and approaches to generating new synthetic and functional systems to test, advance, and apply our understanding of biological systems. In keeping with this issue of Current Opinion in Structural Biology, we focus largely on the design and engineering of biomolecule-based components and systems.

Original publication




Journal article


Curr Opin Struct Biol

Publication Date





491 - 498


Molecular Conformation, Systems Biology