Synthetic biology key to continued growth of agriculture: top Australian scientists


(File Photo: VCG)

CANBERRA, Nov. 19 (Xinhua) -- Synthetic biology could be the key to guaranteeing food security in a warming climate, according to Australia's national science agency.

Claudia Vickers, director of the Synthetic Biology Future Science Platform at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), on Tuesday said that the new field of science can be the answer to the complex challenges facing agriculture around the world.

Synthetic biology is a field that brings together principles from biology and engineering to design and construct new biological entities, such as enzymes, genetic circuits, and cells, or to redesign existing biological systems, according to CSIRO.

"We believe that synthetic biology could transform agriculture and result in a second 'Green Revolution' that would eclipse the first," Vickers said in a media release, referring to the agricultural production boom prompted by technological advances in the 1950s and 1960s.

"Synthetic biology's disruptive concepts and technologies can empower plant scientists to re-imagine food and bio-based material production, both quickly and sustainably."

Agriculture is currently worth approximately 3 percent of Australia's gross domestic product (GDP).

The government has adopted the National Farmers' Federation (NFF) goal of lifting the value of agricultural production to 100 billion Australian dollars (68.06 billion U.S. dollars) by 2030, up from 60 billion AUD (40.8 billion USD) in financial year 2016-17.