Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Synthetic Biology: Addressing Social And Ethical Challenges

Date:
June 8, 2008
Source:
Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council
Summary:
The report of an independent review of social and ethical challenges associated with research into, and the application of, synthetic biology,has just been published. Synthetic biology seeks to apply the principles of engineering to biological systems and processes. Scientists believe that it may lead to new applications, such as new energy production systems, medical therapies, biological computers and innovative ways to clean up hazardous waste.

The report of an independent review of social and ethical challenges associated with research into, and the application of, synthetic biology, is published today (9 June). The report, commissioned by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council's (BBSRC) Bioscience for Society Strategy Panel, is part of its programme to ensure that BBSRC adequately addresses issues raised by this rapidly emerging area of science and technology.

Related Articles


Synthetic biology seeks to apply the principles of engineering to biological systems and processes. Scientists believe that it may lead to new applications, such as new energy production systems, medical therapies, biological computers and innovative ways to clean up hazardous waste. In common with other modern technologies, it is potentially controversial because it raises issues of ownership, misuse, unintended consequences, and accidental release.

The report, 'Synthetic Biology: social and ethical challenges', has been written by Andrew Balmer and Paul Martin of the Institute for Science and Society, University of Nottingham, a leading research centre working on the impact of new technology. It reviews what synthetic biology is, where it has come from, and where it is going, as well as making recommendations to research funders and the scientific community about how social and ethical issues should be addressed. These include:

  • The need for scientists to engage with the public early in the development of synthetic biology to ensure that research does not get ahead of public attitudes.
  • Synthetic biology must not be over-hyped by its supporters and critics should not exaggerate the risks it poses.
  • Reviewing current regulations and guidelines to ensure that an appropriate governance framework is in place before most synthetic biology applications are introduced.

BBSRC, with advice from its Bioscience for Society Strategy Panel, is considering the recommendations of the report and will use its conclusions to inform its future policy in this area.

"Synthetic biology is in the early stages of development in the UK, and it is an appropriate time to address issues of public interest and concern," said Professor Nigel Brown, BBSRC Director of Science and Technology, "BBSRC already requires its grantholders to address ethical and other social issues, but this report will help us to focus on those concerns associated with synthetic biology."

BBSRC is already working with its sister Research Councils on ethical and regulatory issues that might arise from synthetic biology research. BBSRC is working closely with the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council and the Royal Society on how to take forward public dialogue and engagement on the science of synthetic biology, and with the Economic and Social Research Council and the Arts and Humanities Research Council on wider societal issues.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council. "Synthetic Biology: Addressing Social And Ethical Challenges." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 June 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/06/080608213657.htm>.
Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council. (2008, June 8). Synthetic Biology: Addressing Social And Ethical Challenges. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/06/080608213657.htm
Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council. "Synthetic Biology: Addressing Social And Ethical Challenges." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/06/080608213657.htm (accessed December 19, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Friday, December 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) In Yarumal, a village in N. Colombia, Alzheimer's has ravaged a disproportionately large number of families. A genetic "curse" that may pave the way for research on how to treat the disease that claims a new victim every four seconds. Duration: 02:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Navy Unveils Robot Fish

Navy Unveils Robot Fish

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Dec. 18, 2014) The U.S. Navy unveils an underwater device that mimics the movement of a fish. Tara Cleary reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Kids Die While Under Protective Services

Kids Die While Under Protective Services

AP (Dec. 18, 2014) As part of a six-month investigation of child maltreatment deaths, the AP found that hundreds of deaths from horrific abuse and neglect could have been prevented. AP's Haven Daley reports. (Dec. 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dads-To-Be Also Experience Hormone Changes During Pregnancy

Dads-To-Be Also Experience Hormone Changes During Pregnancy

Newsy (Dec. 18, 2014) A study from University of Michigan researchers found that expectant fathers see a decrease in testosterone as the baby's birth draws near. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins