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Origins of life; origins of synthetic biology

I was sitting on a train to London the other day reading a fascinating article on the early history of synthetic biology. In this post I just want to share some interesting insights I gleaned from that paper, as it’s always a good thing to know a bit more about the history of a field …

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Assembling a synthetic human genome: Science and the politics of openness

There has recently been some commotion in the field of synthetic biology about a meeting held at Harvard on 10 May 2016 at which scientists discussed the creation of a synthetic human genome. The meeting was a closed, invitation-only meeting. In a field of science that takes pride in its openness and transparency, this created …

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Synthetic biology, metaphors and ethics: An emerging topic of international interest

As some of you know, I have been interested in metaphors for a long time and more recently have become intrigued by metaphors used when talking about synthetic biology, gene drives, gene editing and so on. This has led to a meeting in Cambridge (Downing College) between Steven Burgess, who edits the PLOS Synbio community …

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Gene editing, metaphors and responsible language use

Last week I was following the progress of the International Summit on Human Gene Editing, which took place in Washington between 1 and 3 December, 2015. On the last day, I was looking at my twitter timeline and saw that Megan Allyse (a former PhD student) had posted information on a special issue devoted to …

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Synthetic biology comes to Nottingham (ESRC Festival of Social Science)

On Monday we are convening a public debate about synthetic biology and responsible research and innovation as part of the ESRC’s Festival of Social Science. You are all welcome to join us! Us means: Adam Rutherford as chair, Hilary Sutcliffe, Andrew Balmer, Klaus Winzer and Peter Licence on the panel (see brochure) and myself as …

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Synthetic Biology; or the Modern Prometheus

When waiting for a plane, I was randomly musing about synthetic biology, responsible innovation and stories – this is the result. Once upon a time there were Mary Shelley and her husband Percy Bysshe Shelley. Mary wrote Frankenstein; or The Modern Prometheus (first published in 1818; now available in twitter-form, as tweeted by Katie Reeves); …

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From recombinant DNA to genome editing: A history of responsible innovation?

In this post I shall report on a recent call for ethical and regulatory reflection by scientists engaged in a new genomic technology. I’ll then put this into a historical context of previous initiatives of that kind, and finally ask whether this can be called ‘Responsible Research and Innovation’. CRISPR Recently, a new controversy has …

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Synthetic biology markets: Opportunities and obstacles

As some people know from my previous posts on synthetic biology, I am interested in tracing how synthetic biology is made public in the news media and whether or how it is becoming a matter of public debate. “Synthetic biology is an emerging area of research and is broadly described as the design and construction …

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A green chemist’s interest in responsible research and innovation

This post was first published on Alasdair Taylor‘s blog Attheinterface on October 22, 2014. It deals with responsible research and innovation, a topic that has been explored numerous times on the Making Science Public blog. So I am pleased that Alasdair let us cross-post his post and add it to the collection! *** In the …

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