Simply put, synthetic biology is the process of shuffling genes around in order to make human cells from scratch without actually using any natural cells.
This is a very interesting subject and has attracted a lot of attention recently mainly as a result of the J Craig Venter Instituteâ€™s success in developing a synthetic genome in the lab.
Their press release in part states
â€œThe team synthesized the 1.08 million base pair chromosome of a modified Mycoplasma mycoides genome. The synthetic cell is called Mycoplasma mycoides JCVI-syn1.0 and is the proof of principle that genomes can be designed in the computer, chemically made in the laboratory and transplanted into a recipient cell to produce a new self-replicating cell controlled only by the synthetic genome.â€http://www.jcvi.org/cms/press/press-rel ... esearcher/
It is worth noting that it is not the cell that has been produced but a chromosome that has been synthesized and inserted into an already existing cell.
The genome is in itself inert and only becomes operational when the existing cell and itâ€™s mechanisms use it.
This is not creating a cell. It is modifying an existing cell.