Wednesday, January 17, 2007

ETC Report on Sythetic Biology

The ETC Group has a downloadable report at their website, called "Extreme Genetic Engineering" that discusses the development of Synthetic Biology and how it consititutes a new chapter in the development of biotechnology. Importantly, they discuss not just the ethics of transgenics and synthetic biology from a position of biological essentialism, but also look at the political economy of the desires driving and benefitting from such developments.

"Despite calls for open source biology, corporate and academic scientists are winning exclusive monopoly patents on the products and processes of synthetic genetics. Like biotech, the power to make synthetic life could be concentrated in the hands of major multinational firms. As gene synthesis becomes cheaper and faster, it will become easier to synthesise a microbe than to find it in nature or retrieve it from a gene bank. Biological samples, sequenced and stored in digital form, will move instantaneously across the globe and be resurrected in corporate labs thousands of miles away - a practice that could erode future support for genetic conservation and create new challenges for international negotiations on biodiversity."

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posted by ryan griffis  # 11:40 AM

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