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Open-endedness in synthetic biology : a route to continual innovation for biological design

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Abstract
Design in synthetic biology is typically goal oriented, aiming to repurpose or optimize existing biological functions, augmenting biology with new-to-nature capabilities, or creating life-like systems from scratch. While the field has seen many advances, bottlenecks in the complexity of the systems built are emerging and designs that function in the lab often fail when used in real-world contexts. Here, we propose an open-ended approach to biological design, with the novelty of designed biology being at least as important as how well it fulfils its goal. Rather than solely focusing on optimization toward a single best design, designing with novelty in mind may allow us to move beyond the diminishing returns we see in performance for most engineered biology. Research from the artificial life community has demonstrated that embracing novelty can automatically generate innovative and unexpected solutions to challenging problems beyond local optima. Synthetic biology offers the ideal playground to explore more creative approaches to biological design.
Keywords
Multidisciplinary, DIRECTED EVOLUTION, ESCHERICHIA-COLI, KEY INNOVATION, EVOLVABILITY, CREATIVITY, OPTIMIZATION, ADAPTATION, COMPLEXITY, MODULARITY, ORGANISMS

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MLA
Stock, Michiel, and Thomas E. Gorochowski. “Open-Endedness in Synthetic Biology : A Route to Continual Innovation for Biological Design.” SCIENCE ADVANCES, vol. 10, no. 3, 2024, doi:10.1126/sciadv.adi3621.
APA
Stock, M., & Gorochowski, T. E. (2024). Open-endedness in synthetic biology : a route to continual innovation for biological design. SCIENCE ADVANCES, 10(3). https://doi.org/10.1126/sciadv.adi3621
Chicago author-date
Stock, Michiel, and Thomas E. Gorochowski. 2024. “Open-Endedness in Synthetic Biology : A Route to Continual Innovation for Biological Design.” SCIENCE ADVANCES 10 (3). https://doi.org/10.1126/sciadv.adi3621.
Chicago author-date (all authors)
Stock, Michiel, and Thomas E. Gorochowski. 2024. “Open-Endedness in Synthetic Biology : A Route to Continual Innovation for Biological Design.” SCIENCE ADVANCES 10 (3). doi:10.1126/sciadv.adi3621.
Vancouver
1.
Stock M, Gorochowski TE. Open-endedness in synthetic biology : a route to continual innovation for biological design. SCIENCE ADVANCES. 2024;10(3).
IEEE
[1]
M. Stock and T. E. Gorochowski, “Open-endedness in synthetic biology : a route to continual innovation for biological design,” SCIENCE ADVANCES, vol. 10, no. 3, 2024.
@article{01HN9Z18H2020RGMWBT1JKJM6W,
  abstract     = {{Design in synthetic biology is typically goal oriented, aiming to repurpose or optimize existing biological functions, augmenting biology with new-to-nature capabilities, or creating life-like systems from scratch. While the field has seen many advances, bottlenecks in the complexity of the systems built are emerging and designs that function in the lab often fail when used in real-world contexts. Here, we propose an open-ended approach to biological design, with the novelty of designed biology being at least as important as how well it fulfils its goal. Rather than solely focusing on optimization toward a single best design, designing with novelty in mind may allow us to move beyond the diminishing returns we see in performance for most engineered biology. Research from the artificial life community has demonstrated that embracing novelty can automatically generate innovative and unexpected solutions to challenging problems beyond local optima. Synthetic biology offers the ideal playground to explore more creative approaches to biological design.}},
  articleno    = {{eadi3621}},
  author       = {{Stock, Michiel and Gorochowski, Thomas E.}},
  issn         = {{2375-2548}},
  journal      = {{SCIENCE ADVANCES}},
  keywords     = {{Multidisciplinary,DIRECTED EVOLUTION,ESCHERICHIA-COLI,KEY INNOVATION,EVOLVABILITY,CREATIVITY,OPTIMIZATION,ADAPTATION,COMPLEXITY,MODULARITY,ORGANISMS}},
  language     = {{eng}},
  number       = {{3}},
  pages        = {{13}},
  title        = {{Open-endedness in synthetic biology : a route to continual innovation for biological design}},
  url          = {{http://doi.org/10.1126/sciadv.adi3621}},
  volume       = {{10}},
  year         = {{2024}},
}

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