Synthetic biology is a field devoted to creating better tools for biological engineering, which could be used to create new biological systems. This Cribsheet summarizes the basics of biotechnology and explains how to assemble and program strands of DNA. It also charts the progress of synthetic biology toward a future of cheap, powerful, easy-to-use biotechnology tools that may be difficult to regulate or control.
This Cribsheet covers the basics of molecular genetics: DNA replication, the genetic code, and gene expression. In addition, we tell you how genome sequencing has progressed over the last decade and what researchers hope to accomplish with synthetic biology.
This Cribsheet covers the basics of photosynthesis: where it happens, how light is used in the process, and why we think photosynthesis may have triggered the rise of complex life.
Hailed as a possible cure for everything from Parkinson's, paralysis and the injustice of aging, stem cells often sound like the miracle pills of the future--that is if we can ever get past the ethically divisive issues raised by their production and use. Conservatives have called for a ban on further research into their therapeutic uses because stem cells are typically harvested from blastocysts—which have the potential to become fetuses. To learn more about how stem cells are harvested, what their cultural ramifications are and where much of the research involving them takes place, view or download the Cribsheet.