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Science and Technology

Synthetic Biology Newsletter 2.0

This July 2011 issue of Synthetic Biology 2.0 looks at the work of the United States Presidential Bioethics Commission, the dominant discourse in the synthetic biology debate, vaccines as the first commercial applicaiton of synthetic biology, do-it-yourself biology, biosecurity, and biofiction where science and arts meet.

Trends in American & European Press Coverage of Synthetic Biology

The increase in media coverage of synthetic biology between 2003-2008 is tracked in this 2008 report. The combined survey rests on the findings of individual U.S. and European press coverage analyses, and examines aspects of synthetic biology that may be cause for either potential public acceptance or rejection of the technology. The report concludes with an agenda for future social science research that can inform our understanding of how public perceptions of synthetic biology develop.

New Life, Old Bottles

In New Life, Old Bottles: Regulating First-Generation Products of Synthetic Biology, Michael Rodemeyer examines the benefits and drawbacks of using the existing U.S. regulatory framework for biotechnology to cover the new products and processes enabled by synthetic biology. The safety of early applications of synthetic biology may be adequately addressed by the existing regulatory framework for biotechnology, especially in contained laboratories and manufacturing facilities, according to the report.

Nanotechnology, Synthetic Biology, & Public Opinion

A groundbreaking poll of 1,001 U.S. adults conducted by Peter D. Hart Research Associates and the Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies found 90 percent of Americans think that the public should be better informed about the development of cutting-edge technologies, according to this 2009 report summarizing the findings. 

Poll: Awareness & Impressions Of Synthetic Biology

From August 16 to August 22, 2010, Hart Research Associates conducted a nationwide survey among 1,000 adults about attitudes toward the entities involved in the oversight of new scientific and technological advances, awareness of nanotechnology, and awareness of and attitudes toward synthetic biology and two potential applications of the science. According to this report, awareness of nanotechnology was at its highest measured level in five years.

Trends in Synthetic Biology Research Funding in the United States and Europe

A 2010 analysis by the Synthetic Biology Project found that the U.S. government  spent around $430 million on research related to synthetic biology since 2005, with the Department of Energy funding a majority of the research. By comparison, the analysis indicated that the European Union and three individual European countries – the Netherlands, United Kingdom, and Germany – had spent approximately $160 million during that same period. Approximately 4 percent of the U.S.

Synthetic Biology Newsletter

The first edition of the Synthetic Biology Newsletter, published in November 2010, reviews the basics of synthetic biology, explains how this new emerging technology intersects with several areas of science and talks about its effect on public perception.

There's a Sensor in Your Pocket

Cell phones and other mobile technologies enable a world where people can participate in sensing and analyzing aspects of their lives that were previously invisible. "Participatory Sensing" allows individuals to identify, measure, and address problems as diverse as air pollution or the damage to fragile ecosystems using mobile phones with basic sensing and communication systems like cameras, global positioning systems (GPS), and text messaging.

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