Synthetic Biology

Synthetic biology is an umbrella term that refers to techniques for re-engineering the fundamental molecular structures of life, including genes, genomes, cells, and proteins. Some of the techniques being developed modify existing bacteria or insects to perform new functions, produce useful substances, or create novel artificial organisms for research purposes. Synthetic biologists foresee a host of applications, including new methods for producing drugs, biofuels, and vaccines; diagnosing, preventing, and treating disease; and – far more controversially and far-off – synthesizing modified human genes to produce specified traits in future children and generations.

At present, no comprehensive framework for assessment, oversight, and regulation of synthetic biology exists nationally or internationally.

Biopolitical Times

With this deceptively simple title, Sheila Jasanoff reveals only a hint of the rich content in her latest book. Her aim, spelled out in the prologue, is first to understand how biologists have come to “claim ownership of the meaning of life,” and then to show why that matters. 

She describes in detail the often-implicit claims that scientists (as opposed to science) have made over the years in their pursuit of narrative control when it comes to technological developments. They...

Biopolitical Times
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