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Stud Hist Philos Biol Biomed Sci. 2013 Jun;44(2):122-9. doi: 10.1016/j.shpsc.2013.03.007. Epub 2013 Apr 6.

Discipline-building in synthetic biology.

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  • 1Universit√© Paris 1/IUF, 17 rue de la Sorbonne, 75005 Paris, France.


Despite the multidisciplinary dimension of the kinds of research conducted under the umbrella of synthetic biology, the US-based founders of this new research area adopted a disciplinary profile to shape its institutional identity. In so doing they took inspiration from two already established fields with very different disciplinary patterns. The analogy with synthetic chemistry suggested by the term 'synthetic biology' is not the only model. Information technology is clearly another source of inspiration. The purpose of the paper, with its focus on the US context, is to emphasize the diversity of views and agendas coexisting under the disciplinary label synthetic biology, as the two models analysed are only presented as two extreme postures in the community. The paper discusses the question: in which directions the two models shape this emerging field? Do they chart two divergent futures for synthetic biology?

Copyright © 2013. Published by Elsevier Ltd.

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