- About Us
- Career Center
- Nano-Social Network
- Nano Consulting
- My Account
Hastings Center Scholars Featured in Nature Biotechnology Issue on Synthetic Biology
What is the market for biofuels and other products created by synthetic biology? What is the state of "do-it-yourself" bioengineers assembling DNA in their own garages? What are the ethical and safety issues? These are some of the questions explored in the December issue of Nature Biotechnology, which focuses on synthetic biology, an emerging field that aims to engineer organisms to develop new medicines, cheap fuels, and a range of other applications.
Gregory Kaebnick, a research scholar at The Hastings Center, wrote a commentary on whether moral objections to synthetic biology should affect public policy. There is a growing view, writes Kaebnick, that synthetic biology "threatens - perhaps more than any other technology - to change the human relationship to the ‘natural' world in morally undesirable ways."
Kaebnick is an investigator on a Hastings Center project on synthetic biology funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. He writes that the notion that synthetic biology constitutes "playing God" is "at best debatable," because it starts with existing materials rather than creating life from nothing.
Kaebnick recognizes the potential safety hazards, such as the risk that synthesized organisms might leak out of a laboratory or factory or fall into the hands of bioterrorists. But he concludes that managing such risks would require "no special defense beyond that already offered for policies to protect rare species and undeveloped lands."
In another article, Thomas H. Murray, president of The Hastings Center and principal investigator on the synthetic biology project, was one of several experts asked to say what the term "synthetic biology" means to them. "Synthetic biology embodies: a faith that biological systems can be brought to heel, and made predictable and controllable," he writes. "Will what we might call the ‘Legoization' of biology fully justify the faith, stance, confidence and hope invested in it? The answer to this question will help to shape the future of humankind and the world we inhabit."
About Hastings Center
The Hastings Center is a nonpartisan bioethics research institution dedicated to bioethics and the public interest since 1969. The Center is a pioneer in collaborative interdisciplinary research and dialogue on the ethical and social impact of advances in health care and the life sciences. The Center draws on a worldwide network of experts to frame and examine issues that inform professional practice, public conversation, and social policy.
For more information, please click here
845-424-4040 ext. 242
Copyright © Hastings CenterIf you have a comment, please Contact us.
Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.
|Related News Press|
News and information
'Green' electronic materials produced with synthetic biology July 16th, 2016
March 2016; 6th Int'l Conference on Nanostructures in Iran July 29th, 2015
PETA science consortium to present at Society for Risk Analysis meeting December 10th, 2014
New approach to determining how atoms are arranged in materials August 25th, 2016
Designing ultrasound tools with Lego-like proteins August 29th, 2016
50 years after the release of the film 'Fantastic Voyage,' science upstages fiction: Science upstages fiction with nanorobotic agents designed to travel in the human body to treat cancer August 25th, 2016
Down to the wire: ONR researchers and new bacteria August 18th, 2016
Hexagonal boron nitride semiconductors enable cost-effective detection of neutron signals: Texas Tech University researchers demonstrate hexagonal boron nitride semiconductors as a cost-effective alternative for inspecting overseas cargo containers entering US ports August 17th, 2016
'Second skin' protects soldiers from biological and chemical agents August 5th, 2016
Nanoparticles that speed blood clotting may someday save lives August 23rd, 2016
Lehigh engineer discovers a high-speed nano-avalanche: New findings published in the Journal of Electrochemical Society about the process involving transformations in glass that occur under intense electrical and thermal conditions could lead the way to more energy-efficient glas August 24th, 2016
New flexible material can make any window 'smart' August 23rd, 2016
Researchers reduce expensive noble metals for fuel cell reactions August 22nd, 2016