Like other engineering disciplines, synthetic biologists apply fundamental principles of math and science to assemble useful devices and products. The difference in this case is the ability of biological systems to self-replicate and evolve. Therefore, synthetic biology research involves

(a) identifying new biological components and quantitatively characterizing their biochemical or biological function,

(b) developing tools for quick assembly of novel systems comprised of biological components,

(c) engineering novel systems to solve problems and

(d) optimizing the performance of biological systems in the context of an evolving organism.