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Genome sequencing has revealed an enormous biosynthetic capacity for microbial natural products, only a small fraction of which are represented in fermentation-based screens. Synthetic biology tools are being developed to translate the encoded diversity of microbial biosynthetic pathways into novel compounds and natural products. The Synthetic Biology of Natural Products conference will blend these disciplines with the goal of generating new platforms, tools and technologies to capture, manipulate and engineer natural product genes and pathways. Converting this vast untapped (meta)genomic diversity into novel chemical leads for biomedical and agricultural applications will require breakthroughs in design, scale and biologics that currently limit the field.