Can life be standardized? Current challenges in biological standardization


The concept of standard strongly evokes machines, industries, electric or mechanical devices, vehicles, or furniture. Indeed, our technological civilization would not be possible – at least in the terms it is structured today – without universal, reliable components, whose acknowledged use results in competitive costs, robustness and interchangeability. For example, an Ikea screw can be used in a wide set of structurally dissimilar furniture and an app can be run on many different smartphones. The very concept of standardization is linked to the industrial revolution and mass production of goods through assembly lines. The question we will try to answer in the present paper is the extent to which standards and the standardization process can be accomplished in the biological realm.


context-dependency; modularity; noise; promiscuity; synthetic biology

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