Updates

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]

Sep 112013
 
Vandana Shiva: What is Earth Democracy?

Excerpted from an interview by Sarah Ruth van Gelder for Yes! Magazine photo by Linda Wolf Vandana Shiva: [Earth Democracy] comes from a very ancient category in Indian thought. Just like Chief Seattle talked about being in the web of life, in India we talk about vasudhaiva kutumbkam, which means the earth family. Indian cosmology has never separated the human from the non-human—we are a continuum. When the issue of the patenting of life emerged, [More]

Aug 012013
 

BioHackers By Azeen Ghorayshi July 31, 2013 Reposted from the East Bay Express A recent Kickstarter campaign to genetically engineer a glowing plant and distribute its seeds across the country has raised questions about the ethical responsibility of DIY scientists in the brave new world of synthetic biology. What if we used trees to light our streets, instead of streetlamps?” That was the simple yet ambitious question posed by an April campaign on the crowd-funding [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]

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 162013
 

May 16, 2013. SynBioWatch.org is expanding to include more issue areas and broader participation from the convening organizations. The site navigation and design will be changing over the next few days so if you are a regular visitor, please look forward to new content in an easier to find and navigate form soon. If you are a new visitor, please excuse our mess. The new site will be fully operational soon. UPDATE: May 21, 2013.  [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, info@SynBioWatch.org 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]