Defense Advanced Research Projects AgencyTagged Content List

Harness Biological Systems

Leveraging genetic technologies to engineer synthetic or natural organisms

Showing 8 results for Bio-systems + Programs RSS
The BioFuels program seeks to develop renewable jet fuel (JP-8) for military aviation that meets or exceeds JP-8 performance metrics to help reduce the military’s dependence on traditional petroleum-derived fuels. These renewable fuels are derived from cellulosic materials and algal species that don’t compete with consumable food crops. The cellulosic material conversion process aims to demonstrate technology to enable 50% energy conversion efficiency in the conversion of cellulosic material feedstock to JP-8.
The Biological Robustness in Complex Settings (BRICS) program seeks to develop the fundamental understanding and component technologies needed to engineer biosystems that function reliably in changing environments. A long-term goal is to enable the safe transition of synthetic biological systems from well-defined laboratory environments into more complex settings where they can achieve greater biomedical, industrial, and strategic potential.
The goal of the Engineered Living Materials (ELM) program is to develop living materials that combine the structural properties of traditional building materials with attributes of living systems, including the ability to rapidly grow, self-repair, and adapt to the environment. Living materials represent a new opportunity to leverage engineered biology to solve existing problems associated with the construction and maintenance of our built environments, as well as new capabilities to craft smart infrastructure that dynamically responds to the surroundings.
Agricultural food production is a fundamental human activity that contributes to defense preparedness, social stability, and economic vitality. However, food production can be jeopardized by natural and man-made threats such as viruses, pests, fungi, herbicides, drought, pollution, salinity, flooding, and frost. Traditional agricultural threat responses—crop rotation, selective breeding, pesticides, slash-and-burn clearing, and quarantine—offer some protection, but are not ideal for facing unexpected or rapidly emerging threats, and are not well suited for securing mature plants. The Insect Allies program seeks to provide an alternative to these traditional responses, using targeted gene therapy to protect mature plants within a single growing season.
Living Foundries seeks to transform biology into an engineering practice by developing the tools, technologies, methodologies, and infrastructure to increase the speed of the biological design-build-test-learn cycle while significantly decreasing the cost and expanding the complexity of systems that can be engineered. The technologies and infrastructure developed as part of this program are expected to enable the rapid and scalable development of transformative products and systems that are currently inaccessible. Examples include novel materials, industrial chemicals, pharmaceuticals, and improved agricultural products.