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Terraforming: synthetic biology’s final frontier

Abstract

Synthetic biology, the design and synthesis of synthetic biological systems from DNA to whole cells, has provided us with the ultimate tools for space exploration and colonisation. Herein, we explore some of the most significant advances and future prospects in the field of synthetic biology, in the context of astrobiology and terraforming.

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Acknowledgements

The authors dedicate this paper to the memory of Sister Mary Vermolen.

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RDS and NS conceived the idea and wrote the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Roy D. Sleator.

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All authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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Communicated by Erko Stackebrandt.

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Sleator, R.D., Smith, N. Terraforming: synthetic biology’s final frontier. Arch Microbiol 201, 855–862 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00203-019-01651-x

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00203-019-01651-x

Keywords

  • Synthetic biology
  • Terraforming
  • Bioforming
  • Mars
  • Exoplanet
  • Proxima b
  • TRAPPIST-1
  • CRISPR
  • De-extinction
  • Light sails
  • Voyager
  • Ecopoiesis