by Tony Cartalucci
from LocalOrg Website
Comparing it to the personal computer revolution of the 70's and 80's, Professor Davies explains the lessons learned and how they can be applied to developing an open and constructive use of synthetic biology.
It is the next step in genetic engineering - not simply copying and pasting genetic code from one life form to another, but creating entirely new genetic sequences, and thus entirely new life forms.
Already, competitions like MIT's iGEM,
pit universities and even high schools against one another as they
develop new forms of synthetic biology using "biobricks"-open-source, standardized components that can be interchanged in
the designing of a synthetic life form just as engineers use
standardized parts to construct machines and buildings today.
This would mitigate degenerative
conditions stemming from aging, and all the diseases such
deterioration invites, including cancers.
He points out local DIYbio groups
springing up around the world and how amateurs and professionals
alike are teaming up to advance this new field of study. He surmises
that the great interest in synthetic biology is the ability to
actually build things (life forms in this case).
The greatest danger is if this
technology remains in the hands of large institutions, corporations,
and tangled up in a web of contrived "intellectual property" claims.
If we are to harness the full potential of this technology, we will have to roll up our sleeves and get involved. If we fail to do this, the technology will be patented, black-boxed, copyrighted, and monopolized.
The fear and real dangers produced by genetic engineering today, stems from the fact that immensely corrupt, centralized corporations monopolize the technology and willfully and consistently abuse it to expand profits and control over the very substance of life.
The emerging field of DIYbio and synthetic biology gives us a chance to level the playing field and put both the technology and its benefits where they belong - in the people's hands.
Prof. Jamie Davies
Synthetic Biology - The Potential and The problems of Re-Engineering Life