PSA2016: The 25th Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association

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Design under Randomness: How Variation Affects the Engineering of Biological Systems

Synthetic biology offers a powerful method to design and construct biological devices for human purposes. It faces the challenge of reconciling the engineering requirements of control and predictability to design of biological systems that are riddled with variation and noisy phenomena. This paper analyzes the role of and problems caused by biological variation in synthetic biology. It proposes a novel classification for different types of variation and shows how they affect design and implementation phases of synthetic biology. The paper clarifies the constraints and choices that different design approaches have to deal with to utilize or to suppress biological variation.

Author Information:

Tero Ijäs    
Department of Political and Economic Studies
University of Helsinki


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