Educational resources

Jun 042014
Your Vanilla Ice Cream Is About to Get Weirder

This article originally appeared in Mother Jones. By Tom Philpott Wed Jun. 4, 2014 Synthetic biology—or “synbio” for short—is the stuff of science fiction brought to life. Whereas standard-issue biotechnology involves inserting a gene from one organism into another, synbio entails stuff like inserting computer-generated DNA sequences into living cells: i.e, creating new organisms altogether. And the technology has made a major breakthrough: A company called Evolva has managed to create a compound called vanillin—the [More]

May 062014
Synthetic Biology: Rebranding Extreme Genetic Engineering

By Jaydee Hanson, Senior Policy Analyst, Centre for Food Safety This article is reposted from the Centre for Food Safety web site. Some years ago, bread companies got the word that customers wanted more fiber in their bread. Instead of making more of their bread with whole grains, a few companies actually put in wood pulp and labeled it as “fiber”. Today, in San Francisco, a group of synthetic biology companies and a representative from [More]

Mar 242014
Human Applications of Synthetic Biology (Resource List)

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]

Sep 162013
Video: Corporate Biotech Green vs. Ecological Green - Vandana Shiva & Gopal Dayaneni

Vandana Shiva, PhD in conversation with Gopal Dayaneni, of Movement Generation: Justice and Ecology Project. World renowned environmental philosopher and activist Vandana Shiva illuminates the corporate assault on biological and cultural diversity and helps us connect the dots: What is the East Bay “Green Corridor,” who is creating it, and what does it mean for communities here and around the globe? “Big oil, big pharma, big food, big seed companies are joining hands to appropriate [More]

Sep 112013
Green Greed - Seeds of Injustice, By Vandana Shiva

Originally published on Asian Age and “The “green economy” agenda… could well become the blueprint for the biggest resource grab in history, with corporations appropriating the planet’s green wealth and biodiversity.” “Big oil, big pharma, big food, big seed companies are joining hands to appropriate biodiversity and biomass — the living carbon, thereby extending the age of fossil fuels and dead carbon…. The instruments for this new dispossession are technological tools of genetic engineering, [More]

Sep 042013

Originally published by Friends of the Earth Synthetic Biology Vanillin: not natural, not sustainable, not likely to be labeled, and coming to an ice-cream cone near you. A new ingredient is about to enter the global food supply in many of our favorite foods from ice cream to birthday cake. And like many of the products of genetic engineering, it won’t be carrying a label– instead it is being marketed as “natural”. This ingredient, synthetic [More]

Jul 312013

On 29th April 2013  King’s College London Centre for Synthetic Biology and Innovation held a workshop on “Synthetic Biology: containment and release of engineered micro-organisms” at King’s College London. The workshop brought together key stakeholders (synthetic biologists, microbiologists, regulators, NGOs, research funders and social scientists) to discuss the prospects for micro-organisms produced by synthetic biology that would need to be released outside of laboratories or factories in order to perform their intended function. The “Scoping Report” [More]

Jun 202013
Synthetic Biology: The Bioeconomy of Landlessness and Hunger

by  the ETC Group Originally  published by For the full briefing please download the PDF file. Synthetic biology represents a quantum advance on biotechnology, and goes beyond transferring genes between species to constructing entirely new, self-replicating microorganisms that have the potential (partially proven / partially theoretical) to convert any biomass or carbon feedstock into any product that can be produced by fossil carbons – plus many more. In other words, from the perspective of synthetic biology (“synbio”), the resource [More]

May 292013
Mapping the Growth Of Synthetic Biology: Wilson Center Findings For 2013

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]