Biology will never be the same. The remarkable scientific success of biology in describing, explaining, and manipulating natural systems is so well recognized as to be a cliche—but the engineering application of that scientific knowledge is just beginning. In the same way that electrical engineering grew from physics to become a separate discipline in the early part of the last century, we see the growth of a new engineering discipline: one oriented to the intentional design, modeling, construction, debugging, and testing of artificial living systems.
Tom Knight in "Engineering novel life" Mol. Sys. Biol. doi:10.1038/msb4100028 (2005)