The safety of early applications of synthetic biology may be adequately addressed by the existing regulatory framework for biotechnology, but further advances in this emerging field are likely to create significant challenges for U.S. government oversight, according to a new report.
Recent action in Congress to reauthorize the U.S. federal nanotechnology research program offers the chance to address the social and ethical issues concerning the emerging scientific field, experts say. A newly released report emphasizes ways in which these topics intersect with governmental functions and responsibilities.
Synthetic biology promises to enable cheap, lifesaving new drugs to treat the 350-500 million people who suffer from malaria, and to create innovative biofuels that can help solve the world’s energy problems. But are synthetic biologists playing God? Will synthetic biology’s expected products and profits be stymied by policymakers and the public?
The Synthetic Biology Project is being launched to identify gaps in our knowledge of the potential risks of the field, explore public perceptions towards it, and examine governance options that will both ensure public safety and facilitate innovation. Take the quiz! Winners Announced!
Synthetic biology is being touted by scientists and venture capitalists as “the next big thing.” Researchers claim to be on the brink of creating artificial life in a laboratory and making the world’s first synthetic microbes. But will the promises and pitfalls of synthetic biology catch governments, ethicists, experts, and the public by surprise?
Tracking the last five years of media coverage
A groundbreaking poll has found that nearly nine in 10 Americans say they have heard just a little or nothing at all about the emerging field of synthetic biology. This new insight into limited public awareness of emerging technologies comes on the cusp of a major leadership change in the nation’s capital.