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Synthetic Biology: Social and Ethical Challenges

June 11, 2008

The electron tomogram of a complete yeast cell reveals the cellular architecture. It shows plasma membrane, microtubules and light vacuoles [green], nucleus, dark vacuoles and dark vesicles [gold], mitochondria and large dark vesicles [blue] and light vesicles [pink]. (Credit: Johanna Höög)

Synthethics, or Synbioethics: The rise of concerns about Synthetic Biology.
The report, “Synthetic Biology: Social and Ethical Challenges“, highlights concerns about the accidental release of synthetic organisms into the environment.

Andrew Balmer and Professor Paul Martin, the report’s authors, suggest a threat from “garage biology”, with people experimenting at home. They also emphasise that there is no policy on the impact of synthetic biology on international bioweapons conventions.

Read the entire report here (PDF).

  1. There are other concerns as well, such as Patents:
    Synthetic Lifeforms by Microbesoft

    Leading environmental groups and others to seek a ban.
    Synthetic Biology on Trial at World Social Forum 2007

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