Bioethics

May 082014
 

A panel of world scientists want to talk to us about synthetic biology. But it’s not clear what we’re allowed to discuss by Jack Stilgoe Originally published by the Guardian on May 8, 2014. The Inter-Academy Panel, a network of the world’s science academies including our own Royal Society, today issued a statement on synthetic biology. A few years ago, biologists in the higher branches of the Royal Society would claim that SynBio didn’t merit [More]

May 082014
 

JULIE STEENHUYSEN This was originally published by Reuters News Service on May 6, 2014. Genome pioneer J. Craig Venter is teaming up with a unit of United Therapeutics Corp. to develop pig lungs that have been genetically altered to be compatible with humans, a feat that, if successful, could address the urgent need for transplant organs for people with end-stage lung disease. Venter’s privately held company Synthetic Genomics Inc. on Tuesday said it has entered [More]

May 082014
 

By ANDREW POLLACK Originally posted by the New York Times on May 7, 2014. Scientists reported Wednesday that they had taken a significant step toward altering the fundamental alphabet of life — creating for the first time an organism with DNA containing artificial genetic code. The accomplishment might eventually lead to organisms that can make medicines or industrial products that cells with only the natural genetic code cannot.. The scientists behind the work at the [More]

Apr 232014
 
Video: How Private is your DNA? with Troy Duster, Jeremy Gruber & Milton Reynolds

Scientists are now able to map our bodies’ DNA with increasing ease and decreasing costs. But what is being done with this information and for whose benefit? How much control do we have over our genetic information and what can we do to protect our privacy? Recorded at the Brower Center Theater 2150 Allston Way in Berkeley, CA on Thursday, April 17, 2014 – 7:30pm. About the Guests: Troy Duster, Emeritus Professor, Sociology, UC Berkeley [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
 
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]

Jan 152013
 
Bay Area Alert!: LBNL opens comment period for Richmond Bay Campus: Jan 4-Feb 4

LBNL has opened comment period for Richmond Bay Campus: Jan 4-Feb 4. Read and download the notice of preparation, here : http://richmondbaycampus.lbl.gov/assets/docs/env/RBC_LRDP_EIR_NOP.pdf NOTE: A public scoping meeting for the Environmental Impact Review will be held from 7:00-9:00 PM on January 23, 2013 at the Richmond City Council Chambers, 403 Civic Center Plaza, Richmond. The US Department of Energy may use this scoping meeting to fulfill requirements under the National Environmental Policy Act and under 10 CFR Part [More]

Dec 172012
 
Appeals court backs scientist in Pfizer retaliation case

Note: Microbiologist Becky McClain, infected by a genetically engineered virus in a Pfizer lab, became the first whistleblower in the nation to try to shed light on the threats of biotechnology to workers and the public. Now, the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals in New York, has validated her claims that Pfizer “acted willfully, maliciously, or with reckless indifference” concerning allegations that her free-speech rights had been violated and she had faced retaliation for [More]

Nov 072012
 

NOTE:  Back in 2004, we were not following synthetic biology, and have just come upon one of the most comprehensive and critical notes on the emerging industry that we know of, which was wriiten back then, and which we post below. The article was written by former Nature editor Phillip Ball. After reading a current article of his which poses the question, ‘Is the scientific endeavour always a bold and noble quest for truth?’ and [More]

Oct 262012
 

Cross-posted from The Atlantic The U.S. government is surreptitiously collecting the DNA of world leaders, and is reportedly protecting that of Barack Obama. Decoded, these genetic blueprints could provide compromising information. In the not-too-distant future, they may provide something more as well—the basis for the creation of personalized bioweapons that could take down a president and leave no trace. By ANDREW HESSEL, MARC GOODMAN and STEVEN KOTLER This is how the future arrived. It began [More]