Synthetic biology startups are breaking into the multi-billion-dollar market for industrial enzymes that power reactions for pharmaceutical, chemical, textile, food, and other companies.
How? Synthetic biologists take component DNA sequences that form different enzymes and patch them together to create a biological code. This code can produce new pathways for enzymes to work together or for organisms to produce them. These are then handed to commercial partners who manufacture them in bulk.
What they're after: Every plant, animal, and microbe functions because of enzymes. They catalyze the digestion of food, prevent blood from clotting, and help cells communicate with one another. Wine, bread, cheese, medicines, contact lens solution, laundry detergent, and a long list of other things we enjoy, dislike, and otherwise rely on work because of enzymes. They are, in other words, vital, useful, and lucrative (industrial enzymes are a nearly $5 billion business).
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