Defense Advanced Research Projects AgencyTagged Content List

Harness Biological Systems

Leveraging genetic technologies to engineer synthetic or natural organisms

Showing 39 results for Bio-systems RSS
DARPA’s Biological Technologies Office develops capabilities that embrace the unique properties of biology—adaptation, replication, complexity—and use these features to revolutionize how the United States prepares and protects its citizens, Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines from threats at home and abroad. Example new Department of Defense capabilities include the ability to counter novel bioterrorism, deploy innovative biological countermeasures to protect its forces, and accelerate warfighter readiness/overmatch for adversary threats.
From programmable microbes to human-machine symbiosis, biological technologies are expanding our definition of technology and redefining how we interact with and use biology.
“Biology is nature’s ultimate innovator, and any agency that hangs its hat on innovation would be foolish not to look to this master of networked complexity for inspiration and solutions.” – DARPA Director Arati Prabhakar, Testimony to Subcommittee on Intelligence, Emerging Threats and Capabilities, U.S. House of Representatives, March 26, 2014
Researchers working on DARPA’s Quantum Effects in Biological Environments (QuBE) program have shown that the electromagnetic noise that permeates modern urban environments can disrupt a bird’s internal magnetic compass. The findings settle a decades-long debate into whether low-level, artificial electric and magnetic fields can affect biological processes in higher vertebrates. For DARPA, the results hint at a new class of bio-inspired sensors at the intersection of biology and quantum physics.
The development of increasingly sophisticated techniques and tools to sequence, synthesize and manipulate genetic material has led to the rapidly maturing discipline of synthetic biology. To date, work in synthetic biology has focused primarily on manipulating individual species of domesticated organisms to perform specific tasks, such as producing medicines or fuels.