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Max Planck launches €13m synbio programme

The Max Planck Society has officially launched its research programme for synthetic biology at a ceremony in Berlin.

Funded with €13 million from the society and the federal ministry of education and research, the MaxSynBio programme, which was first initiated in August 2014 and was launched on 16 April, will bring together 13 research groups from nine Max Planck institutes and the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg.

MaxSynBio was devised as a bottom-up approach to understanding the fundamentals of biology and the building blocks of life, and to furthering the country’s design and construction of artificial cells and their technological applications. The researchers aim to construct artificial cells that mimic natural functions, and in this way gain insight into whether a protocell exists, from which all life may have originated. The ethical, sociological and philosophical aspects of synthetic biology will also be considered. 

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