Category: Updates

  • New “Semisynthetic” Anti-malarial Drug is Unneeded and Sets Dangerous Precedent while Threatening Farmer Livelihoods.

    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, 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 […]

  • UK Guardian: Synthetic Biology Advocates Woo Conservationists with Bio-Engineering “Solutions” to Species Extinction

    Reposted from the Guardian: Call for DNA biologists to join fight against deadly new threats to wildlife Research into creation of a new generation of synthetic organisms could be the way to save some of the natural world’s most endangered species, according to conservationists The Panamanian golden frog has been pushed close to extinction by […]

  • East Bay Conversations: The Promises and Perils of Biotechnology

    East Bay Conversations: The Promises and Perils of Biotechnology

    East Bay Conversations: The Promises and Perils of Synthetic Biology is a series of public lectures beginning March 21 at the David Brower Center in Berkeley to give in-depth attention to the many faces and facets of the current state of biotechnology. From attempts to revolutionize the energy sector, to dreams of human perfection, to creating modular molecules for endless cultural and agricultural applications, the promises of synthetic biology are profoundly alluring — but the perils are a potential Pandora’s box of private patents, pandemics and plagues.

  • Laugh or Cry? Obama’s New Commitment on Climate Change

    By Rachel Smolker, cross-posted from Huffington Post In his inaugural address, President Obama spoke eloquently about his intent to address climate change, saying: “We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations.” Following on, the right-wing deniers predictably flew into a frenzy […]

  • LBNL opens comment period for Richmond Bay Campus: Jan 4-Feb 4

    While this announcement in the Richmond Confidential suggests that Bay Area residents might want to consider wildlife and birds, noise pollution and new traffic as they weigh in on the proposed second campus of Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, here at synbiowatch, we’re quite a bit more concerned about bio-hazardous material, leakage of artificial organisms, worker safety, and […]

  • Weird Science: The Promise and Peril of Synthetic Biology

    By Jeff Conant, from Earth Island Journal, Autumn, 2012 In 1971, a microbiologist named Ananda Chakrabarty patented a bacteria genetically engineered to degrade and destroy crude oil. The next year scientists created the first synthesized gene, a bit of yeast RNA ushered into existence virtually from scratch. These discoveries, among others, raised the curtain on the science of […]

  • Intro to the LBNL Institute for Globally Transformative Technologies (LIGTT)

    A new initiative of LBNL is the Institute for Globally Transformative Technologies; from a certain perspective, the work of this institute appears to be focused on providing essential services to the world’s poor. But given the history of the key actors, it is reasonable to be concerned that this initiative, rather than challenging the exercise of […]

  • The Rise And Fall Of The Company That Was Going To Have Us All Using Biofuels

    By Daniel Grushkin, cross-posted from Fast Company August 8, 2012 Amyris’s breakthroughs in bioengineering–and its plans to make biofuels from Brazilian sugarcane–promised to transform how the world’s businesses produce energy, cosmetics, and medicine. Then reality (and Wall Street) got in the way. Fields of Dreams: Sugarcane plantations next to Amyris’s Paraíso plant near São Paulo […]

  • Scorecard Chides Administration on Synthetic Bio Policy Follow-Up

    Cross-posted from GenEng News President Barack Obama’s administration has not fully addressed any of the recommendations made by its Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues a year and a half ago for improving the governance of synthetic biology research and development, a policy group asserted. The Synthetic Biology Project at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars acknowledged […]

  • German Researchers Hand Biofuels a Poor Review

    From Science Magazine Germany’s National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina has come down firmly against the use of crops for energy. In a reportissued today from a panel of more than 20 experts who have been working together since 2010, the academy concludes that biofuels should play only a small part in the move toward sustainable sources […]