Updates

Feb 172016
 
'Rogue scientists' could exploit gene editing technology - or are they already?

An article in The Guardian (copied below) describes how a senior geneticist and a bioethicist is in agreement with a US security chief that gene-editing presents a serious risk to national security, equivalent to North Korea’s WMDs. Whilst the focus is on accidentally (or deliberately) releasing viruses, or the inevitability of “designer babies”, the researchers and intelligence staff interviewed in the article agree that the unregulated nature of the industry currently, and the fact that [More]

Jan 262016
 
ETC’s Irreverent Review of 2015… and (possibly) Irrelevant Preview of 2016

Download the full review here, for ETC’s SynBio updates and industry developments. The Year that Ended Dangerously If El Niño weren’t enough, the extraordinary winds that struck Yemen and Mexico’s Pacific Coast were matched by record-breaking forest fires in the Indonesian archipelago, droughts, torrential rains and floods from Australia to the British Isles and heat-waves on the east coast of North America (in winter). Much of this was El Niño, of course, but some of it was climate change – and all [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 292014
 
What is Synthetic Biology?

Engineering Life and Livelihoods This short film explains the basics on synbio and its attempts to engineer life. You can also download and read the comic book that accompanies it here. 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 [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]

Sep 052014
 
These ice cream makers aren’t down with vanilla’s brand new invention

(This article originally appeared in Grist) by Madeleine Thomas Häagen-Dazs, the company known for its simple, less-ingredients-is-more approach to ice cream, recently confirmed that it doesn’t plan to use vanilla flavoring derived from synthetic biology — the process of  inserting computer-generated DNA into living cells to create products such as food additives. Nestlé (which produces Häagen-Dazs in Canada and the U.S.) and General Mills (which produces Häagen-Dazs outside of North America) confirmed their allegiance to natural vanilla [More]

Aug 292014
 
GMOs 2.0: Synthetic Biology – Impacts on Our Food, Farmers, Consumer Products & Health

A new generation of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) is quietly entering our food supply, cosmetics and household products.  What is Synthetic Biology and what are the real costs to our food, ecosystem and farmers locally and around the world? Where: Mill Valley Community Center, Cascade Room.  180 Camino Alto, Mill Valley. When: Oct. 9, 2014; 7 – 9 pm. When: Free event. Donations appreciated at the door. RSVP: Click here to RSVP   Join us [More]

Jun 172014
 

The following is a response to 7 Busted Myths About Solazyme’s Renewable Oils, an article which purports to debunk the claims of groups campaigning against use of synthetic biology in consumer products. Maxx, Your transparency about your financial interest in the outcome of this debate is appreciated. However, your “debunking” either misses the point or doesn’t address it. 1. Is Syn Bio regulated? Poorly if at all. You debunked your own debunking pretty well here. [More]

Jun 112014
 
Tell Ecover: Synthetic Biology is Not “Natural”

Click here to sign the petition and learn more! FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE—June 2, 2014 San Francisco, Calif.– In an open letter released today 17 national and international consumer, environmental, women’s health and farming groups called on leading “natural” cleaning and personal care products manufacturer Ecover and its U.S.-based subsidiary, Method Products Inc., to cancel plans to use oils and other ingredients derived from synthetic biology, a new and unregulated set of genetic engineering techniques. Earlier this month, [More]

Jun 012014
 
Groups call on Ecover and Method to drop extreme genetic engineering plans

Consumer, environmental, farming groups say synthetic biology is not natural or sustainable FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE—June 2, 2014 San Francisco, Calif.– In an open letter released today 17 national and international consumer, environmental, women’s health and farming groups called on leading “natural” cleaning and personal care products manufacturer Ecover and its U.S.-based subsidiary, Method Products Inc., to cancel plans to use oils and other ingredients derived from synthetic biology, a new and unregulated set of genetic engineering techniques. [More]