Volume 21 Issue 5 6 May 2020
Science & Society 26 April 2020 Open Access
The long journey towards standards for engineering biosystems : Are the Molecular Biology and the Biotech communities ready to standardise?
Jacob Beal et al
Standards are the basis of technology: they allow rigorous description and exact measurement of properties, reliable reproducibility and a common “language” that enables different communities to work together. Molecular biology was in part created by physicists; yet, the field did not inherit the focus on the quantitation, the definition of system boundaries and the robust, unequivocal language that is characteristic of the other natural sciences. However, synthetic biology (SynBio) increasingly requires scientific, technical, operational and semantic standards for the field to become a full‐fledged engineering discipline with a high level of accuracy in the design, manufacturing and performance of biological artefacts. Although the benefits of adopting standards are clear, the community is still largely reluctant to accept them, owing to concerns about adoption costs and losses in flexibility.