By Pete Shanks and Marcy Darnovsky Originally published on Biopolitical Times The Supreme Court’s June 13, 2013 unanimous ruling against Myriad Genetics is a triumph for common sense and the common good, and for scientific research and legal fundamentals as well. The decision means that all of the existing patents on human genes – some 15,000 of them – are no longer valid. It affirms a century of legal precedent that prohibits patents on “products [More]
Stuart Newman, PhD in conversation with Milton Reynolds: June 6, Patent Pending – The Rise of Genetically Modified Humans EAST BAY CONVERSATIONS The Promises and Perils of Biotechnology Stuart Newman, PhD in conversation with Milton Reynolds of Facing History and Ourselves. Thursday, June 6, 2013, 7: 30 pm Brower Center’s Goldman Theater (2150 Allston Way, Berkeley, California) Free and Open to the Public.
ETC Group has launched a crowd funding page at Indiegogo to support the “Kickstopper” campaign aimed at stopping the first mass release of synthetic organisms into the environment. Also just launched is a petition to get Kickstarter to withdraw their support for the synthetic glowing plant PR campaign that leverages lax regulation in the United States to give this extreme genetic engineering practice a friendly face.
An Israeli company seeks to use a loophole in US regulations on genetically engineered plants to conduct a mass release of a genetically modified organism (a glow in the dark Arabidopsis plant) with no regulatory review. Current US regulations, which would apply if the plant were modified using non-synthetic techniques, don’t cover the new gene insertion methods being promoted by synthetic biology companies. Friends of the Earth (FOE) and Action on Erosion, Technology and Concentration [More]
SynBioWatch Press Release: For Immediate Release April 15, 2013 Contact: Lisa Archer, Gopal Dayaneni, or Tina Stevens, , (510) 982-1285, info@SynBioWatch.org Pharmaceutical giant Sanofi Aventis and Amyris Biotech founder Jay Keasling have announced that they intend to replace the entire world supply of the World Health Organization’s preferred anti-malarial treatment derived from botanical artemisinin with a semisynthetic product which employs synthetic biology, a controversial, unregulated biotechnology. Speaking at a conference in Cambridge, UK, Keasling said, “Moves [More]
by Jim Thomas Originally published by the Guardian UK Artemisinin breakthrough by synthetic biologists threatens to open new front in battle between microbes and people In the constant fight between microbes and people, attempts to rein in the malarial parasite have just taken an interesting turn. On Thursday April 11 the founder of Amyris Biotech triumphantly announced production of 70m doses of the anti-malarial compound artemisinin. This sounds like good news for poor people but may be [More]
Watch an archived broadcast of East Bay Conversations: When Green Tech Isn’t Clean Tech (3/21/2013) Synthetic biology includes creating novel life forms using DNA not found in nature, promising “green” fuel, cosmetics, cures, and more. Geoengineering promises techno fixes for climate change, including limiting sunlight and removing CO2 from the air. ETC Group’s technology watchdog Jim Thomas and Fibershed Founder Rebecca Burgess tell us what we’re not hearing from promoters about these “false solutions” — their land grabs, environmental and safety risks, and threats to “real green” technology solutions.
by Pete Shanks Originally published on Biopolitical Times The unanimous Supreme Court decision [pdf] (June 13, 2013) that human genes may not be patented was greeted with unbridled enthusiasm by the large coalition of plaintiffs and supporters. Early reactions concurred that the decision is indeed a momentous one. The Center for Genetics and Society response is here. For background, the amicus brief that CGS and allies filed with the US District Court in 2009 is [More]
View the map Download the PDF summary of findings Except from the Wilson Center TRACKING THE GROWTH OF SYNTHETIC BIOLOGY: FINDINGS FOR 2013: Major Findings: The number of entities conducting research in synthetic biology increased significantly between 2009 and 2013, resulting in a total of 508 unique entities in the 2013 inventory [See footnotes1 2 3] The number of companies has come into closer parity with the number of universities. The number of companies more [More]
Download: synthetic_biology_mandate_en.pdf Reposted from Regulatory Update | 17 May 2013 By Ansis Helmanis, RegLink The European Commission’s three Scientific Committees have been requested to provide a joint scientific opinion on the relationship of Synthetic Biology (SB) to genetic modification of organisms, its implications for human and animal health and the environment, and the major gaps in knowledge necessary for performing a reliable risk assessment. Synthetic Biology is the term used to describe the creation of biological systems that [More]
On June 6, join Milton Reynolds of Facing History and Ourselves in conversation with Stuart Newman as they consider some of the social justice and ethical challenges associated with these developments. In 1997, New York Medical College cell biologist Stuart Newman applied for a patent on what he called a “humanzee” — part human, part chimp — to call attention to the social and ethical hazards of biotech patenting and human genetic modification. The Patent [More]
A listing of articles on human applications of synthetic biology (updated 5-24-13). ****** General Gods and Monsters Mark Dowie, Mother Jones, January/February 2004 [Talking apes, flying pigs, superhumans with armadillo attributes, and other strange considerations of Dr. Stuart Newman's fight to patent a human/animal chimera] Big Promises Backed by Bad Theory Eric Hoffman and Stuart Newman, GEN, May 15, 2012 [Overview, not very focused on human applications but including them] ****** Picks from the Center for Genetics and [More]
The Alliance for Human Biotechnology (AHB) is organizing a letter-writing campaign to the California State Senate to oppose Assembly Bill 926 which authorizes paying young women to undergo egg harvesting to extract their eggs for bio-research. The procedure, which includes taking powerful hormones for weeks, has short term risks (including death) and long term risks that have not been adequately studied, making informed consent nothing but a sham. Previously, egg “donation” targeted college women with [More]
Download the complete pdf The undersigned, a broad coalition of civil society groups, social movements, local and indigenous communities, public interest, environmental, scientific, human rights, religious and labor organizations concerned about various aspects of synthetic biology’s human health, environmental , social , economic, ethical and other impacts, offer the following declaration, “The Principles for the Oversight of Synthetic Biology.” (For a current list of signatories please visit Friends of the Earth/ Executive Summary Synthetic biology, [More]