Corporate Wheeling & Dealing

Oct 222013

Reposted from the New York Times October 20, 2013 EMERYVILLE, Calif. — Vanilla, saffron, patchouli. For centuries, spices and flavorings like these have come from exotic plants growing in remote places like the jungles of Mexico or the terraced hillsides of Madagascar. Some were highly prized along ancient trading routes like the Silk Road. Now a powerful form of genetic engineering could revolutionize the production of some of the most sought-after flavors and fragrances. Rather [More]

Oct 172013
Synthetic biology: An emperor with no clothes? - By Allison Domicone

Reposted from Policy Matters Journal On September 11, I had the great pleasure of attending a public conversation with one of my heroes, Dr. Vandana Shiva, at the David Brower Center in downtown Berkeley. Shiva is a highly respected Indian physicist and activist who has for decades been speaking truth to power with an eloquence and moral courage that I only wish more global leaders would aspire to attain. Shiva is a particularly vocal critic of [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]

May 072013
ETC & FOE "Kickstopper" Campaign Takes Aim at SynBio Kickstarter Effort to Distribute Synthetically Engineered Seeds

Kickstopper! – Putting a Stop to Synthetic Biology Pollution ETC to launch counter-Kickstarter campaign to prevent release of synthetic organisms At the end of April 2013, ETC Group learned that  three biohackers from the ultra-libertarian Singularity University in California had mounted a project on the popular crowdfunding site Kickstarter. It was a plan  to carry out the worlds first environmental release of an avowedly Synthetic Biology organism – a glow-in-the dark arabidopsis plant. Shockingly the ‘Glowing Plants’ [More]

May 072013
Mass Release of Synthetically Engineered Plant Seeds via Kickstarter Campaign Draws Protest

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]

Apr 152013
New "Semisynthetic" Anti-malarial Drug is Unneeded and Sets Dangerous Precedent while Threatening Farmer Livelihoods.

SynBioWatch Press Release: For Immediate Release April 15, 2013 Contact: Lisa Archer, Gopal Dayaneni, or Tina Stevens, , (510) 982-1285, 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]

Apr 132013
Synthetic Anti-Malarial Compound is Bad News for Artemisia Farmers

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]

Mar 082013
WATCH: When Green Tech Isn't Clean Tech,  ETC Group’s technology watchdog Jim Thomas and Fibershed Founder Rebecca Burgess in Dialog with Gopal Dayeneni

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.

Feb 282013

by Jeff Conant, for synbiowatch Last week, the Supreme Court heard testimonies in the Bowman vs. Monsanto case, wherein the agribusiness giant is fighting an appeal by farmer Vernon Bowman, who the company claims infringed its patent rights by replanting seeds he purchased beyond the bounds of the company’s licensing agreement. The farmer’s claim is that seeds are seeds, designed by nature to reproduce, and that therefore farmers have the right to plant them as [More]

Feb 282013
For Autodesk, a Step Into a Nanoscale World

The NY Times ran this article a few days ago, about the pending release of a desktop nano-biotech design program. The reporter mentions that “there are still many open questions that nanotechnology needs to surmount, ranging from viability to safety,” but lapses quickly into a swoon over the inventors’ hyping of the new technology, saying  that “they can recreate the thriving commercial ecosystems that the company has now evolved in engineering design at a Lilliputian scale.” [More]