Regulation & Oversight

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 142013
Supreme Court Strikes Down Gene Patents in Breast Cancer Gene Case

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 The decision means that all of the existing patents on human genes – some 15,000 of them – are no longer valid.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]

Jun 142013
Reactions to the Supreme Court Ruling on Patenting Human Genes

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]

Campaign to Stop Release of Synthetic Seeds Launches Online Petition & Crowd Funding

 Regulation & Oversight  Comments Off on Campaign to Stop Release of Synthetic Seeds Launches Online Petition & Crowd Funding
May 312013
Campaign to Stop Release of Synthetic Seeds Launches Online Petition & Crowd Funding

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.

May 282013

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]

May 162013
Principles for the Oversight of Synthetic Biology

 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]

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 052012
Video: The Bay Area Bio Lab & Synthetic Biology, False Solutions

A Risky Development: The University of California, Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, and the US Department of Energy have unveiled plans to build a high profile biotech laboratory in the East Bay. The lab and associated commercial activity will focus on developing biofuels and other products using synthetic biology: an extreme form of genetic engineering that creates artificial life. Ground Zero for Syn Bio: Already a multi-billion dollar field, synthetic biology is fast becoming the next [More]