The following is an edited excerpt.
If you’re like me, the concept of synthetic biology—the application of engineering techniques to the building blocks of life—is pretty hard to get your head around. I get synthesizing, say, material to make clothes out of. But synthesizing new life forms? Apparently, while I stand slack-jawed, the novel technology is quickly going mainstream.
What could possibly go wrong? Well, I don’t know much about the science of creating living lamps. But I do think it’s important to think out the broader implications of synbio—as the novel technology is known—and ask questions about how its release from the lab into the world is regulated.
Read the full story here: The Scary Side of Synbio Glowing Plants
- The Action Group on Erosion, Technology and Concentration (ETC) project to counter the kickstarter Glowing Plant campaign.
- “A Dream of Trees Aglow at Night,” New York Times
If you can get past the somewhat creepy photo, this article offers a good overview of events surrounding the kickstarter project as of early May, 2013.
- “Glowing trees could pave the way for solving world problems with biology,” Wired
Hear more from the man behind the Glowing Plant campaign.
- “Glowing plants spark debate,” Nature
Nature notes that the US government has no problem with the project.
- “Kickstarter must not fund biohackers’ glow-in-the-dark plants,” Guardian
The UK media is predictably perturbed.