“Contained” industrial use of GE microbes: A regulatory loophole large enough for most commercial synthetic biology uses to fit through
by Almuth Ernsting (ECO Volume 52, Issue 2) The vast majority of current synthetic biology applications involve microorganisms, including bacteria, fungi (e.g. yeast) and microalgae. Nearly all uses of genetically engineered (GE) microorganisms are classed as ‘contained’, a term which, under different countries’ and regions’ regulations covers all uses inside industrial facilities, such as biofuel […]
Precautionary approach to synthetic biology needs to be translated into effective regulation
by Almuth Ernsting ([square brackets]) The Ad-hoc Technical Expert Group (AHTEG) on Synthetic Biology  reaffirmed the need to observe the precautionary approach in relation to synthetic biology. Its report lists 15 potential adverse impacts of synthetic biology and emphasises the need for comprehensive case-by-case risk assessments. Disappointingly, no agreement could be reached as to […]
‘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 […]
Solazyme: Synthetic Biology Company Claimed to be Capable of Replacing Palm Oil Struggles to Stay Afloat
A Biofuelwatch investigation of a Californian company that has been at the forefront of genetically engineering algae. It set out to produce vast quantities of biofuels with them – but is only producing small quantities of algal oil, mainly for anti-wrinkle skin care instead. Download the briefing Solazyme is a Californian company founded in 2003 […]