Synthetic biology is an interdisciplinary subject in which biologists, engineers and computer scientists collaborate with the aim to synthesize new organisms and engineer them to perform tasks, which the respective organism does not perform in nature. Synthetic biology overlaps with nanobiotechnology not only in certain technical aspects, but also concerning social, safety and ethical impacts. Both disciplines act at the intersection of biology and technology and challenge the boundary between living and non-living matter, as it has been understood hitherto. Possible applications for example in medicine and the danger for abuse in bioterrorism are common to synthetic biology and nanobiotechnology. We want to examine ethical and social implications of synthetic biology in comparison to nanobiotechnology. Thereby we aim to contribute to a better understanding of which issues are specific to nanobiotechnology and which are shared with other approaches in the field.