Photo via flickr by Joel Kulper
At the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues attendees assessed the risks and benefits of synthetic biology. Advocates heralded the field’s shiny prospects for health and commerce while others cautioned against environmental hazards and potential widening of socioeconomic gaps.
Proponents included: Craig Venter, American biologist and founder of J. Craig Venter Institute who is known for sequencing the human genome; Drew Endy, synthetic biologist, assistant professor at Stanford University and leading enabler of open source biotechnology; Chemical engineer Kristala Prather, head of Prather Research Group @ MIT; and George Church, molecular geneticist who initiated the Personal Genome Project and founded the personal genomic company, Knome.
Concerned bioethicists and scientists included: Allison Snow from the Department of Evolution, Ecology and Organismal Biology at Ohio State University; Technology historian Jim Thomas; Greg Kaebnick, Research Scholar at The Hastings Center and editor of the Hastings Center Report; and Allen Buchanan, professor of philosophy at Duke University.
According to Bioethics.org, the Commission is requesting public input until September 1st and their report on SynBio recommendations and implications is due on Obama’s desk in November of this year.
via Biopolitical Times, the weblog of the Center for Genetics and Society