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Thu, Oct 09
Synthetically Modified Food Is The New Frontier
Genetically modified organisms are ancient, technologically speaking. Though some consumers may just be discovering that they’re in the food system (and getting riled up about labeling them), farmers have had access to them since 1996.
But there’s a new technology on the scene, adding a twist to the already complicated conversation about GMOs in our food: synthetic biology.
In essence, synthetic biology is about designing and building workhorse organisms that can make things more efficiently than nature (or make things we might need that nature doesn’t make at all). According to Todd Kuiken, a senior program associate with the Synthetic Biology Project at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, “It’s the next stage of genetic engineering.”
While there’s been far more hype around synthetic biology’s potential to create drugs, biofuels and even designer creatures, some of the most recent “synbio” products to hit the market are actually (somewhere) in our food.