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Revision as of 15:25, 28 January 2013 by Siddharth Das (talk | contribs) (replied to Kevin Baldridges comment, focusing on the analogy he uses.)
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  • Neil R Gottel 03:32, 28 January 2013 (EST): Technical question: how do I properly format quotes? I tried using formatting from wikipedia, but I couldn't get it to work properly, so I'm just using the blockquote command.
Evan Weaver 12:00, 28 January 2013 (EST): I was able to add quotes by adding " around the text. "Like this" Is this what you needed?
  • Max E. Rubinson 13:23, 28 January 2013 (EST): “Given the difficulties synthetic biologists have when trying to make genes from a different species function properly in another species, it seems unlikely that accidental transfers of genetic material could result in any significant biological hazards.” Comments like this seem rather arrogant. There will always be a potential for biological hazards that we may never fully understand or live long enough to realize. As Dr. Ian Malcolm aptly states in Jurassic Park, “…life, uh, finds a way.”
Andre C Maranhao 14:03, 28 January 2013 (EST): Maybe it is arrogant, but it's probably just an overreaction to all the sensationalism from anti-GMO groups and the bioethics community. Yes, there are hazards associated with any human activity and maybe to a greater degree the activities of synthetic biology. Still, take a look at hydrofracking. It utterly destroys the local water-table, which has serious, long-term consequences for the environment and biosphere. Yet, we as a country 'need' to tap that vast source of domestic energy. Now, the country is discussing how the technology will be used/implemented whilst minimizing the repercussion. The same thing is necessary for synthetic biology. So in the end, debate is good, but both side should avoid extremes of hand-waving disregard and doomsday fear-mongering.
  • Gabriel Wu 15:54, 28 January 2013 (EST): Minor point: It's good to keep the tone light, but captions for Cynthia--while funny, I admit--may be interpreted wrong by those who are looking for material to use against the synthetic biology committee.
  • Gabriel Wu 16:22, 28 January 2013 (EST):Suggestion: Include discussion on flu debate?
  • Kevin Baldridge 16:42, 28 January 2013 (EST):There was an interesting article on privacy with genomic information available in public databases in Nature doi:10.1038/493451a

Black hat vs white hat hackers

Is it feasible to think that, just like today, "white hat hackers" for synthetic biology could create the "patches" or cures to counter the malicious work of black hat hackers, in a continually escalating yet mostly benign tit-for-tat? -*Dwight Tyler Fields 16:11, 28 January 2013 (EST):

    • Gabriel Wu 16:15, 28 January 2013 (EST): Problem is in software development it's easier to develop a patch then in biology. If we could "patch" human health the way we can computer hacks, we wouldn't be in such a panic about antibiotics and vaccines right now.
  • Kevin Baldridge 16:12, 28 January 2013 (EST):We talk about the doomsday scenario of "biohackers" ruining the environment to where you'd have to wear respirators etc. Is that a genuine concern as well, because we do have the hacker culture in the computer world, but it hasn't ruined our ability to use computers altogether. The regulatory/antivirus industries have stayed ahead as hackers develop their malware, would we see a similar development in the protective bodies against biohacker culture? Apologies if this repeats -- it seems that Dwight had the same idea during class
    • Siddharth Das 16:, 28 January 2013 (EST): Although the analogy may hold true in terms of understood constructs, for both electronic and biological, the emphasis of the possible dangers of synthetic organisms arise misunderstood regulatory metabolic pathways and moreover it evolution. For example, scientist can easily design organism with a "fail safe code" that terminates the organism before it grows beyond control. In the case of DIY biologists (a.k.a. biohackers), they can easily design an organism with an unrealized gene expression that harm an individual. Furthermore, unlike code, the genetic code in vivo can mutate dangerously and even out compete their wild-type counterparts. Such an incredulity in the hands of inexperienced biohackers can prove to be dangerous.
  • Gabriel Wu 16:13, 28 January 2013 (EST): What are the major limitations to "successful" bioterrorism? We talk about accessibility to materials and equipment, but is that really the major barrier? The idea of chemical/biological warfare has been out there for a while. Heuristically, it feels like it's not been a easy as people fear. Is this true?