Synthetic Biology is heralded as a novel approach to the engineering of biosystems that will set the scene for a flourishing knowledge-based bio-economy. Benefits for the fundamental understanding of biological phenomena are also claimed, as rational construction of a system based on hypothesized design principles can be used to test assumptions. The keywords of synthetic biology are rational design, decoupling of conception and fabrication, standardization and component re-use, modularity and hierarchy, orthogonality and context-insensitivity. However, each keyword raises questions of desirability and feasibility. These questions remain ongoing areas of inquiry for the field and require multi-faceted approaches. Beyond the current hype surrounding it, what is the value of synthetic biology for the progress in understanding of biological systems and for the establishment of new biotechnological production platforms?