Category: Health & Safety

  • Re-engineering life? The dangers of ‘next generation’ biofuels

    Re-engineering life? The dangers of ‘next generation’ biofuels

    by Almuth Ernsting, Ecologist The biofuels of the future will depend on microbes, writes Almuth Ernsting: algae to produce the biomass, and fungi or bacteria to break cellulose down into useful molecules. Just one problem: wild strains aren’t up to the job. So scientists are trying to genetically engineer supercharged ‘synthetic biology’ variants – which […]

  • Creators defend vanilla flavour made using synthetic biology

    Evolva say its synbio vanillin is a sustainable alternative to the synthetic variety, but critics say the technology isn’t palatable for the environment by Rich McEachran (Guardian) On its journey from the fields in Madagascar to your ice cream, sponge cake and chocolate, the vanilla plant is subjected to an intense process: it’s cured, dried […]

  • Bad-Boy Scientism

    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, […]

  • What is Synthetic Biology?

    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, […]

  • 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; […]

  • Ecover must come clean on synthetic biology

    [This article was originally published in The Ecologist.] Following The Ecologist’s revelation about Ecover’s use of synthetic biology to make laundry detergent, the company has put its trials on hold, writes Jim Thomas. But to regain public trust, the company must re-engage honestly with its critics, and its customers. A month ago, The Ecologist revealed that ‘eco-friendly’ soap […]

  • Video: What happens when synthetic algae is turned loose?

    Video: What happens when synthetic algae is turned loose?

    What do we know about the synthetic forms of algae, and what would happen if they are released into the water and air? Not enough, says Rachel Smolker of Biofuelwatch.

  • Video: Metaphor and Reality in Synthetic Biology

    Video: Metaphor and Reality in Synthetic Biology

    Dr. Craig Holdrege, founder of the Nature Institute, talks about where things go wrong when synbio engineers conceive of life using machine metaphors, and explains why every change to DNA has unintended effects, and the broader ethical implications involved.

  • Video: Transparency from SynBio Companies?

    Video: Transparency from SynBio Companies?

    What happens when you ask a synthetic biology company for evidence that their products are safe and tested? Dana Perls of Friends of the Earth US explains.

  • Response to Motley Fool

    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 […]