Synthetic Biology Publications
This document provides a set of guidelines to help organizations, institutions, journalists, and others discuss the emerging field of synthetic biology with a variety of audiences.
This report presents a set of key research areas to guide the study of the potential ecological impacts of synthetic biology.
This report challenges seven widely held beliefs about DIYbio practitioners, particularly that anonymous scientists are cooking up deadly epidemics in their basements. In fact, the survey finds most lab work being done in the community is benign and that the vast majority of those surveyed perform their experiments in group workspaces with other enthusiasts. The report also includes six policy recommendations based on the survey results.
This report assesses how implementation of the Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit Sharing (NP) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) may affect U.S. researchers working in the area of synthetic biology. It also analyzes selected provisions in CBD-related national legislation predating the NP that may be relevant for such researchers.
There has been little change in public awareness of either synthetic biology or nanotechnology since previous surveys, according to this 2013 poll of more than 800 U.S. adults. In the poll, 23 percent of adults say they have heard a lot or some about synthetic biology, compared with 31 percent who say the same about nanotechnology. The most common associations that respondents make with synthetic biology are that it is unnatural, man-made, and artificial or that it has to do with reproducing life.
Press coverage of synthetic biology in the United States and Europe increased significantly between 2008 and 2011. This report builds on the project’s earlier study of press coverage in the United States and Europe during the 2003-2008 period. The new report finds an increase in the sheer number of articles about synthetic biology. It further finds that this coverage is driven by high-profile events and that there are growing similarities in how the technology is covered in the United States and Europe. This report also highlights key recommendations from recent reports focused on the press and public engagement.
Today’s bio-economy, where info-, nano-, and biotechnology converge, has the potential to yield great advances in all sectors, including medicine and energy, by using advanced modes of manufacturing at an atomic scale while achieving reproducible results. This creative convergence sounds exciting, but scientific advances and technological innovation do not come without some risks. Policymakers need to adopt a critical perspective on governance approaches regarding the bio-economy, keeping in mind how it affects our intricate sociotechnical system, our regulatory cultures, and the evolving relationships between researchers, funders, industry and the public.
The next industrial revolution will fundamentally change the way we make things, and where. Government needs to create policy frameworks that support the transition to a new manufacturing paradigm and we also need to have a public conversation about what this world should look like and what policies are needed to make sure that both society and the planet will benefit.
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.
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.