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Guest Editorial: Synthetic biology: making biology into an engineering discipline

Schyfter, P.   Frow, E.   Calvert, J

Engineering Studies   5 (1) 1-5

February 2012   (First published online March 2013)

With this special issue, we hope to open up a conversation with readers of Engineering
Studies about the emerging field of synthetic biology. Despite the name synthetic biology,
the guiding ambition of practitioners in this field is to turn biology into an engineering
discipline by bringing engineering principles and practices from more established fields of
engineering into the world of biotechnology.1 There is a rich and growing body of critical
literature on synthetic biology, but it has yet to engage substantially with engineering studies.
This collection of papers strives to open up a set of questions for reflection and empirical
investigation in what we see as an intriguing space emerging in the interstices between
science studies and engineering studies.