Defense Advanced Research Projects AgencyTagged Content List

Synthetic Biology

Leveraging biotechnology to develop new organisms with unprecedented behaviors and capabilities

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The tremendous ability of the U.S. military to project power entails an equally imposing logistical chain to maintain stocks of food, water, medicines, fuel, and other supplies critical to troops and equipment. That chain gets stretched to extremes when the military is called upon to rapidly deploy anywhere in the world and sustain operations without the benefit of fixed infrastructure.
August 29, 2019, 8:00 AM EDT,
Embassy Suites by Hilton
The Biological Technologies Office is holding a Proposers Day meeting and webcast to provide information to potential performers on the new ReSource program. The primary objective of ReSource is to provide the military with the ability to rapidly and efficiently up-convert military waste into valuable resources onsite and on demand. By the end of the program, developed platforms should be capable of resourcing on-demand products that could include the following: edible macronutrients; traditionally petroleum-derived products such as lubricants, adhesives, and tactical fibers; potable water; and other value-added molecules for an emergency ration (e.g., caffeine).
Current and emerging Department of Defense (DoD) capabilities rely upon access to a number of critical, high-value molecules that are often prohibitively expensive, unable to be domestically sourced, and/or impossible to manufacture using traditional synthetic approaches. DARPA’s Living Foundries program aims to enable adaptable, scalable, and on-demand production of such molecules by programming the fundamental metabolic processes of biological systems to generate a vast number of complex molecules that are not otherwise accessible.
Our deployed service members are exposed to adversary activity and numerous naturally occurring or engineered threats including chemicals, viruses, and bacteria. To protect them, BTO is developing technologies that can rapidly detect and characterize these threats. In addition, BTO is developing novel biological approaches to sense and report adversary activities on land and at sea.
Service members need constant supplies of clean water, food, medicines, and materials to complete their missions. BTO is enabling the migration of biotechnology from the lab into the field, creating new opportunities to harden operations against disruption by increasing operational resilience and logistic security.