Synthetic Biology

Synthetic Biology — upcoming events in their conference section. “Making life better, one part at a time”.

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One Response to “Synthetic Biology”

  1. In terms of the long-term horizon of the Fourth Wave, I still consider synthetic biology a risk, not a solution. I will have to be convinced that biosafety issues can ever be resolved. Until then, synthetic biology has the same status in my world view as nuclear energy: it would solve certain problems, but create other, greater problems for which there is apparently no solution forthcoming.

    Just as there’s no way to prevent a radioactive substance from emitting radiation, there’s no way to prevent populations of organisms (including populations of synthetic organisms) from evolving by processes of mutation and selection. All parts of the genome are subject to mutation (though not all parts are equally exposed to selection), including those parts of synthetic organisms that may have been engineered to provide “failsafe” mechanisms against biosafety hazards. These biosafety genes are exposed to selection by definition, of course, so there’s no question that the organisms would eventually evolve past them.

    Until I’m convinced otherwise, I don’t believe there’s any such thing as a failsafe, and I’m no more willing to accept failsofts in synthetic biology than I am in nuclear energy.

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