Synthetic biology as a challenge to understand the autonomy of the living

Isegoría. 2016;0(55):551-575 DOI 10.3989/isegoria.2016.055.08


Journal Homepage

Journal Title: Isegoría

ISSN: 1130-2097 (Print); 1988-8376 (Online)

Publisher: Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas

LCC Subject Category: Philosophy. Psychology. Religion: Philosophy (General)

Country of publisher: Spain

Language of fulltext: Spanish

Full-text formats available: PDF



Sara Murillo-Sánchez (Universidad del País Vasco (UPV/EHU))

Kepa Ruiz-Mirazo (Universidad del País Vasco (UPV/EHU))


Double blind peer review

Editorial Board

Instructions for authors

Time From Submission to Publication: 48 weeks


Abstract | Full Text

We here offer an alternative view of synthetic biology, quite distant from the engineering approaches that currently set the main research agenda of the field. Our analysis centres on those lines of work, both theoretical and experimental, whose primary objective is understanding the living phenomenon per se. A detailed review of several cases of artificial in vitro implementation of ‘self-productive’ chemical systems will help us reflect on the enormous challenge of transforming a descriptive scientific discipline, like biology, into an enterprise that comprises and fosters investigations articulated around the notion of synthesis or fabrication. The challenge is huge because of the intrinsic metabolic nature of biological systems, what makes our efforts to control or build them de novomuch harder, forcing us to develop intervention/implementation platforms at the molecular level that do not threaten that inherent autonomous dimension of the living.