Jun 302015
 
"Jurassic World" and the Dinosaurs at the USDA

by Rachel Smolker, Truthout The new movie Jurassic World offers more than a few lessons relevant to the state of our world. There is the obvious point about scientists bringing back to life genetically engineered dinosaurs with no real concern for the havoc they may wreak. Then there is the very clear link to real-world “de-extinction” scientists who seriously aim to bring back mastodons and passenger pigeons, while others are finding ever more potent means [More]

Jun 042015
 
Creators defend vanilla flavour made using synthetic biology

Evolva say its synbio vanillin is a sustainable alternative to the synthetic variety, but critics say the technology isn’t palatable for the environment by Rich McEachran (Guardian) On its journey from the fields in Madagascar to your ice cream, sponge cake and chocolate, the vanilla plant is subjected to an intense process: it’s cured, dried and sometimes even oxidised. Given the lengthy nature of vanilla production – it can take several weeks to go from [More]

Apr 172015
 
Video: Sacred vs Synthetic: Competing Visions for Life on Earth

Synthetic biology – genetic engineering to create and control life – could radically impact our food systems, our environment, and our relationship with nature. What is “synbio” and how will it undermine traditional knowledge, livelihoods and society? What follows is a conversation about the false promise of synbio and the real solutions right here in our own communities. Featuring: Joanna Macy, PhD, Eco-philosopher Carla Perez, Movement Generation and Healing Clinic Collective Doria Robinson, Urban Tilth Scott [More]

Mar 272015
 
Sacred vs. Synthetic: Competing Visions for Life on Earth

    Update: Watch the video of this event! April 14 @ 7:00 p.m. Impact Hub Oakland 2323 Broadway, Oakland, CA Synthetic biology – genetic engineering to create and control life – could radically impact our food systems, our environment, and our relationship with nature. What is “synbio” and how will it undermine traditional knowledge, livelihoods and society? Join us for a conversation about the false promise of synbio and the real solutions right here [More]

Jan 152015
 
Bad-Boy Scientism

by Pete Shanks (Originally appeared on HuffPo.) Austen Heinz of Cambrian Genomics has been trolling hard lately, as blogger Josh Cunningham notes. That is, he’s been spouting provocative opinions to get attention. And it seems to be working, from his point of view. Not only was Heinz involved in the vagina bio-hack nonsense, but he told the Wall Street Journal last June, “I can’t believe that after 10 or 20 years, people will not design their children digitally.” And he doubled down in [More]

Oct 302014
 

This was originally posted to All Africa. by Glenn Ashton Synthetic food has long been the subject of speculative fiction, from Charlie Chaplin’s “The Great Dictator” where poor quality artificial food spawned dissent, to Kurt Vonnegut’s “Breakfast of Champions” where food was manufactured from coal and petroleum because fossil fuels had trashed global ecosystems. Today fiction manifests as reality. If genetic modification (GM) of our food were not enough, biologists continue to push the boundaries [More]

Oct 292014
 
What is Synthetic Biology?

Engineering Life and Livelihoods Full script: So here’s a thought experiment. What if living things were actually machines? The sort of machines that you could take apart, reprogram, and rewire to do something entirely new? If so, plants could just be rewired to glow like light bulbs or yeast tinkered with to produce vanilla. The biotechnology industry has actually spent years trying to think about life this way, and that is the impetus to a [More]

Oct 202014
 
Regulate Synthetic Biology Now: 194 Countries

SynBio industry’s wild west days are numbered PYEONGCHANG, SOUTH KOREA– In a unanimous decision of 194 countries, the United Nation’s Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) today formally urged nation states to regulate synthetic biology (SynBio), a new extreme form of genetic engineering. The landmark decision follows ten days of hard-fought negotiations between developing countries and a small group of wealthy biotech-friendly economies. Until now, synthetic organisms have been developed and commercialized without international regulations; increasing [More]

Oct 152014
 
Northern “Syn Bio Club” Blasted for Impeding UN Talks Progress

Synthetic Biology States vs. the Rest of the World PYEONGCHANG, SOUTH KOREA–Tensions are rising at UN talks concerning oversight of synthetic biology technology, sometimes called extreme genetic engineering. A small club of wealthy nations with powerful biotech industries, (Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Switzerland, Brazil and the European Union) have been clashing with developing countries from Africa, Southeast Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean over the need for international governance frameworks for synthetic biology. The [More]

Oct 082014
 
Synthetic Biology Could Open a Whole New Can of Worms

This article originally appeared at IPS News. by Desmond Brown PYEONGCHANG, Republic of Korea, Oct 7 2014 (IPS) – Haiti, the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, is the world’s leading producer of vetiver. In the southwest of the country, vetiver production is hard to ignore. Driving into Les Cayes, the largest town in the south, one is greeted by fields of vetiver on either side of the road. The same is true if driving from [More]