Could (and Should) We Become Biological Programmers?

While this basic knowledge of computer programming has at times proven useful, I also wonder to what extent it has prevented me from understanding the fundamental complexities of biology and the stark uniqueness of nature.

I recently realized that I was viewing biological problems as computer problems, that I thought about programming biology like programming computers.


It’s easy to draw the parallels between genetic and computer code. Instead of binary code, genes and genomes are essentially encoded in quaternary, with Cs (for cytosine), Gs (guanine), As (adenine), and Ts (thymine) for 0s and 1s. Organisms are already biological machines (or biocomputers), capable of performing computational calculations and executing complex programs with this quaternary code.


Since the early 2000s, biologists have adopted the mindset of engineers, designed complex genetic circuits, and created new forms of life. The risks of computer technology may become the risks of synthetic biology and biological systems can cause much greater damage.

What are the possible social issues and ethical concerns of playing God?

Video about the social and ethical implications of biological innovation



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