Current Synthetic and Systems Biology

Current Synthetic and Systems Biology
Open Access

ISSN: 2332-0737


Exploring the Future of Synthetic Biology in India and its Probable Pathways from Infancy to Maturity

Deepak Singh and Pawan K Dhar

Synthetic biology is an engineering inspired approach for ground-up construction of biological systems leading to a preferred phenotypic outcome. Given that the rules of constructing biological systems are unknown, the synthetic biology approach of constructing a genome or pathways or networks is a novel effort and merits careful assessment. Though synthetic biology has made rapid strides in the US and Europe, in India the field is at an early stage. This Delphi study explores the institutional structure and investment scenarios of the evolving Indian Synthetic Biology sector. Comparisons are drawn with the global initiatives with a hope to identify probable future pathways. Here we have attempted to make a general assessment of the field using publications, patents, venture capital sources, legal provisions and a direct community opinion. This is the first Delphi study on synthetic biology in India and attempts to present various synthetic biology sub-domains. The study has potential to help policy makers and scientists on governing, prioritising, planning and funding of the sector and choosing the relevant research themes. The key challenge of governance, accountability and social inclusion vis-à-vis this sector is important in the context of emerging situation in the country. The accuracy of the predictions is dependent upon respondents understanding of synthetic biology, technological breakthroughs, observational and experimental errors both in pre and post-facto scenarios of this exercise. Though interesting observations have been made in this work, there is a need to regularly conduct such studies in India and forecast the evolution of the field in future.