Science and industry are marching along with advances from this relatively new form of biological engineering, especially in the areas of biofuel and chemical production. Is it possible for this field to gain enough traction and acceptance without triggering the anti-GMO reaction? Or will some clever Frankenfuel-esque label bring this field to a screeching halt?
A biologist I know likes to say that synthetic biology isn’t good or bad; like any science, it can be used for good or bad things, depending on the people doing the work. The promise of synthetic biology is extraordinary: endless supplies of cheap, environmentally-friendly fuels; clean, low-cost biopharmaceutical compounds; and industrial enzymes and chemicals that can be produced without petroleum.
Scientists, entrepreneurs, and policymakers have learned a great deal from the GMO experience, but it remains to be seen whether that will be enough to secure the future of synthetic biology. Indeed, thought leaders in the field are trying to keep ahead of things this time by self-policing
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