Systems and Synthetic Biology

, 5:1

First online:

Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.

The ten grand challenges of synthetic life

  • Manuel PorcarAffiliated withCavanilles Institute of Biodiversity and Evolutive Biology, Universitat de València
  • , Antoine DanchinAffiliated withCEA/Genoscope, AMAbiotics SAS
  • , Victor de LorenzoAffiliated withNational Center of Biotechnology CSIC, Campus de Cantoblanco
  • , Vitor A. dos SantosAffiliated withDivision of Microbiology, HZI-Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung
  • , Natalio KrasnogorAffiliated withSchool of Computer Science, Jubilee Campus, University of Nottingham
  • , Steen RasmussenAffiliated withCenter for Fundamental Living Technology, University of Southern DenmarkSanta Fe Institute
  • , Andrés MoyaAffiliated withCavanilles Institute of Biodiversity and Evolutive Biology, Universitat de ValènciaCentro Superior de Investigación en Salud Pública (CSISP), Unidad Mixta de Investigación en Genómica y Salud Email author 


The construction of artificial life is one of the main scientific challenges of the Synthetic Biology era. Advances in DNA synthesis and a better understanding of regulatory processes make the goal of constructing the first artificial cell a realistic possibility. This would be both a fundamental scientific milestone and a starting point of a vast range of applications, from biofuel production to drug design. However, several major issues might hamper the objective of achieving an artificial cell. From the bottom-up to the selection-based strategies, this work encompasses the ten grand challenges synthetic biologists will have to be aware of in order to cope with the task of creating life in the lab.


Synthetic biology Artificial life Streamlined genomes Challenges