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George Church: How Synthetic Biology Will Reinvent Nature—and Us

Mon, Oct 29, 2012 at 7:30pm

at Town Hall
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Harvard Medical School Genetics Professor George Church, the co-author of Regenesis , points to nanotechnology and genome engineering as emerging fields that have led us to the threshold of a new era of bioengineering.

Imagine a microbe that could convert corn into plastic—almost like brewing beer—or a bacteria that could purify sewage in a process that generates electricity. A few years ago, those scenarios would have been science fiction—but today they’re quickly becoming a reality. And that’s just the beginning, says Harvard Medical School Genetics Professor George Church. The co-author of Regenesis points to nanotechnology and genome engineering as emerging fields that have led us to the threshold of a new era of bioengineering. Imagine bioengineering plants to produce plastic in specific shapes (like a drinking cup … or a house); resurrecting extinct species; or making humans immune to all viruses. It’s a once-incredible new world filled with possibilities—and perhaps perils. Presented as part of Town Hall Science series, sponsored by University Book Store and Microsoft. Series media sponsorship provided by KPLU.