RODRIGUEZ Pablo Esteban
Developing synthetic biology in Argentina: the Latin American TECNOx community as an alternative way for growth of the field
NADRA, ALEJANDRO D.; RODRÍGUEZ, PABLO E.; GRUNBERG, RAIK; OLALDE, LAURA G.; SÁNCHEZ, IGNACIO E.
CRITICAL REVIEWS IN BIOTECHNOLOGY
TAYLOR & FRANCIS INC
Año: 2020 vol. 40 p. 357 - 364
Synthetic biology emerged in the USA and Europe twenty years ago and quickly developed innovative research and technology as a result of continued funding. Synthetic biology is also growing in many developing countries of Africa, Asia and Latin America, where it could have a large economic impact by helping its use of genetic biodiversity in order to boost existing industries.Starting in 2011, Argentine synthetic biology developed along an idiosyncratic path. In 2011?2012, the main focus was not exclusively research but also on community building through teaching and participation in iGEM, following the template of the early ?MIT school? of synthetic biology. In 2013?2015, activities diversified and included society-centered projects, social sciencestudies on synthetic biology and bioart. Standard research outputs such as articles and industrial applications helped consolidate several academic working groups. Since 2016, the lack of a critical mass of researchers and a funding crisis were partially compensated by establishing links with Latin American synthetic biologists and with other socially oriented open technology collectives. The TECNOx community is a central node in this growing research and technology network.The first four annual TECNOx meetings brought together synthetic biologists with other open science and engineering platforms and explored the relationship of Latin American technologies with entrepreneurship, open hardware, ethics and human rights. In sum, the socioeconomic context encouraged Latin American synthetic biology to develop in a meandering and diversifying manner. This revealed alternative ways for growth of the field that may be relevantto other developing countries.