Making biology more like computer systems

Synthetic biology extends the spirit of genetic engineering to focus on whole systems of genes and gene products. The focus on systems as opposed to individual genes or pathways is shared by the contemporaneous discipline of systems biology, which analyzes biological organisms in their entirety. The goal of synthetic biology is to extend or modify the behavior of organisms and engineer them to perform new tasks. One useful analogy to conceptualize both the goal and methods of synthetic biology is the computer engineering hierarchy