The UK government announced the intention to establish Synthetic Biology as a major initiative in the UK.
"Synthetic biology has been driven by developments in next generation sequencing, DNA synthesis, and systems engineering. It is a potential platform technology with possible applications including bio-energy, industrial biotechnology and chemicals. I have asked leading researchers and business experts in a group chaired by Dr Lionel Clarke of Shell to produce a synthetic biology roadmap to set out the timeframe and actions to establish a world leading synthetic biology industry in the UK. They should report in the Spring after which we intend to convene a new Synthetic Biology Leadership Council to look at how we can deliver that road map."
See full text of David Willet's speech (Cabinet Minister responsible for Universities and Science in the UK, Policy Exchange, London, Jan 2012)