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WASHINGTON — Synthetic biology, the industry built around using back-end technologies to engineer the life sciences, has long prided itself on having a quirky, countercultural ethos — and having more fun than those stuffy suits in biotech and pharma. It was just two years ago, after all, that a biohacker CRISPR’d himself on stage at the industry’s big annual conference.

Now, though, the industry is trying to establish its footing here in a town with a culture utterly unlike its own.

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