CH391L/S13/Ethics

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Ethical considerations for practicing synthetic biology

The term "synthetic biology" could almost be calculated to elicit a strongly negative response by anyone with a belief in the beauty of naturally evolved DNA.

Bioethics is the


The Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues (PCSBI) published a report in December 2010 regarding the ethical ramifications of synthetic biology. This report was requested by U.S. president Barack Obama in response to the announcement in May 2010 of the first self-replicating synthetic genome, belonging to the organism Mycoplasma mycoides JCVI-syn1.0.

iGEM teams are required to document their safety practices and the ethical implications of their projects[1].


Objections to Synthetic Biology

According to the PCSBI, there were "...relatively few objections from religious or secular ethicists concerning the present status of the field"[2].

Concerns regarding the normal use (i.e. not abuses such as bioterrorism) spring from philosphical approaches both religious and secular. The phrase "playing God" is often

Safety Guidelines[1]

International

USA

Conferences

References

  1. http://igem.org/Safety [igem]
  2. http://bioethics.gov/cms/synthetic-biology-report

    [pcsbi]

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