Synthetic biology: the "sharp tool" of life science

Synthetic biology can make use of Escherichia coli to produce bulk chemical materials and get rid of the shackles of petroleum raw materials; yeast can produce artemisinic acid and rare ginsenosides to reduce costs and promote new drug research and development; engineering bacteria can not "accidentally injure" normal cells and specifically attack cancer cells; create "artificial cells" containing artificial genome to explore the way of life evolution; use DNA to store data and information And develop biological computers As a new force in the scientific community, synthetic biology has made rapid progress and has shown broad application prospects in the fields of chemical industry, energy, materials, agriculture, medicine, environment and health.

Exploring the origin and evolution of life

Unscrambling "code" and transforming nature

Life is the most complex physical existence in the world. Since the birth of human beings, they have been searching up and down in the long journey of understanding life. From the Huangdi Neijing and compendium of Materia Medica in ancient China, to the classification of animals and plants by western modern naturalists, and human's understanding of life phenomena are all empirical logical summaries obtained from the "macroscopic" observation and "apparent" description of life. On the other hand, for "organic matter" such as urea, chemists also believe that it can only be produced by organisms under the action of a mysterious "vitality".

In 1828, Friedrich Weiler, a German chemist, unintentionally synthesized urea in inorganic experiment, which opened the prelude of synthetic chemistry of synthetic organic compounds. That is to say, from the late 19th century to the first half of the 20th century, experimental science based on mathematical and chemical techniques and methods gave birth to cell biology, biochemistry, genetics and developmental biology, which recognized the common essence of life. The birth of evolutionism first promoted human's understanding of life to a theoretical level.

In the middle of the 20th century, with the discovery of DNA double helix structure and the establishment of the "central rule" of molecular biology, human beings began to find the "codebook" of life phenomenon. The analysis of the primary structure of bovine insulin, another basic molecule of life, directly led to the complete artificial synthesis of bovine insulin by Chinese scientists in the 1960s, which is the first synthetic protein in the world. At the same time, the establishment of DNA sequencing technology realized the dream of human "reading genes"; the establishment of DNA recombination technology realized the dream of human "writing genes"; coupled with the realization of the dream of "coding genes" based on gene directed mutation and knockout, molecular biology and genetic engineering technology pushed life science to the first revolution in history in the 1980s It's the pinnacle of the world.