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Stanford biologist Drew Endy: We need transparency when synthesizing humans

, | | April 12, 2018
drew endy
Drew Endy. Image credit: Saul Bromberger and Sandra Hoover
This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.

Perhaps more than anyone else working in synthetic biology, [researcher Drew] Endy has tried to hold the community to account.

[He] suggested that scientists needed to be as transparent as possible when discussing the possibility of writing and engineering human genomes.

I spoke to Endy in his airy, high-ceilinged lab at Stanford about why he does this work and what troubles him. This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

I wish for humanity to transition from living on Earth to living with the Earth — for our civilization to be flourishing in partnership with the planet by the time that we’re synthesizing human genomes routinely. One of the failures of [global effort called Genome Project-write, or GP-write, whose goal is to redesign gene systems and entire genomes in various organisms] is that it reinforces attention on humans, on ourselves, as opposed to the rest of the world.

I wish for us to think about changing that T to that A, or whatever, in the same way we feel about our kids and our family.

I’m going to be super excited about synthesizing human genomes. But if those conditions aren’t met, I’m going to be really nervous because I feel like it’s going to amplify a bunch of disasters looming from our human-centric thinking in our cultural, political, and economic systems.

Read full, original post: Is the World Ready for Synthetic People?

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