Synthetic biology: Novel approaches for microbiology Authors Felipe Padilla-Vaca Department of Biology, Division of Natural and Exact Sciences, University of Guanajuato, Guanajuato. Fernando Anaya-Velázquez Department of Biology, Division of Natural and Exact Sciences, University of Guanajuato. Bernardo Franco Department of Biology, Division of Natural and Exact Sciences, University of Guanajuato. Keywords: synthetic biology, genetic engineering, genomics · pathogenesis, bioethics, artificial cells, astrobiology Abstract In the past twenty years, molecular genetics has created powerful tools for genetic manipulation of living organisms. Whole genome sequencing has provided necessary information to assess knowledge on gene function and protein networks. In addition, new tools permit to modify organisms to perform desired tasks. Gene function analysis is speed up by novel approaches that couple both high throughput data generation and mining. Synthetic biology is an emerging field that uses tools for generating novel gene networks, whole genome synthesis and engineering. New applications in biotechnological, pharmaceutical and biomedical research are envisioned for synthetic biology. In recent years these new strategies have opened up the possibilities to study gene and genome editing, creation of novel tools for functional studies in virus, parasites and pathogenic bacteria. There is also the possibility to re-design organisms to generate vaccine subunits or produce new pharmaceuticals to combat multi-drug resistant pathogens. In this review we provide our opinion on the applicability of synthetic biology strategies for functional studies of pathogenic organisms and some applications such as genome editing and gene network studies to further comprehend virulence factors and determinants in pathogenic organisms. We also discuss what we consider important ethical issues for this field of molecular biology, especially for potential misuse of the new technologies. [Int Microbiol 2015; 18(2):71-84]Keywords: synthetic biology · genetic engineering · genomics · pathogenesis · bioethics · artificial cells · astrobiology Downloads PDF Issue Vol. 18 No. 2 (2015) Section Research Reviews License Submission of a manuscript to International Microbiology implies: that the work described has not been published before, including publication in the World Wide Web (except in the form of an Abstract or as part of a published lecture, review, or thesis); that it is not under consideration for publication elsewhere; that all the coauthors have agreed to its publication. The corresponding author signs for and accepts responsability for releasing this material and will act on behalf of any and all coauthors regarding the editorial review and publication process.If an article is accepted for publication in International Microbiology, the authors (or other copyright holder) must transfer to the journal the right–not exclusive–to reproduce and distribute the article including reprints, translations, photographic reproductions, microform, electronic form (offline, online) or any other reproductions of similar nature. Nevertheless, all article in International Microbiology will be available on the Internet to any reader at no cost. The journal allows users to freely download, copy, print, distribute, search, and link to the full text of any article, provided the authorship and source of the published article is cited. The copyright owner's consent does not include copying for new works, or resale. In these cases, the specific written permission of International Microbiology must first be obtained.Authors are requested to create a link to the published article on the journal's website. The link must be accompanied by the following text: "The original publication is available on LINK at <http://www.im.microbios.org>. Please use the appropiate URL for the article in LINK. Articles disseminated via LINK are indexed, abstracted, and referenced by many abstracting and information services, bibliographic networks, subscription agencies, library networks, and consortia.