Synthetic Biology Event @ LSE


Source: nature (as in the journal…)

Tomorrow (26 November 2009), the London School of Economics is hosting ‘Creating the organisms that evolution forgot – An ‘Any Questions?’ debate on synthetic biology‘.

The debate will be hosted by Quentin Cooper from the BBC’s ‘Material World’ and will feature a mixture of scientists, social scientistist and hopefully, as indicated, YOU!

Details of the event can be found here.

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4 thoughts on “Synthetic Biology Event @ LSE

  1. I have a blog in which i have decided to start a couple of days ago – that way i get my voice out there- Reading Systems Biology and Synthetic Biology
    By Pengcheng Fu, Sven Panke, arose many concerns for me in how we are blindly going through uncharted waters, how we assume that synthetic life will maintain its composition. One thing all scientists and geneticists know for a fact that even if the DNA is minimal, changes, mutations that is occur. What if these organisms with minimal genetic information actually mutate to something unpredictable and against scientific norms – that is not far fetched cause if you are alive, that is a living organism has the ability to adapt. Aristotle mentioned that the difference between living and non living is matter and form. Well, form is what some refer to as DNA, psyche – chose as you wish. Once something is living it inevitably has potential for change – and change in something we do not know yet is potential for trouble. If the majority of the society is willing to accept the “verbatim” and text book definition for playing God, named synthetic biology and not accept embryonic stem cell research, human cloning, then the methods of conveyance of information about these scientific areas of research must be re-evaluated and another approach must be taken. It must be noted that in all walks of life there is order, how can we replicate from scratch – no manipulate- replicate without complete knowledge of how things work. Would you go to war without armor and only an iffy sword? What if a new fuel generating organism five years down the line goes airborne due to mutation causing infertility or eradication of our species or of another? How can one say they know it wont happen when we don’t know why mutations in genetic codes are still viable, and do not know all the precursors that promote mutation? How do we know the mutation possibilities of a synthetic organism 5 or 10 years down the line ? We DONT- and this is why it is necessary that we at least know how we operate, how our species can dominate viral and bacterial threats at any costs. If there was a time to hang our proud hat of being human and not a dominant mammals it is now. Human cloning for embryonic stem cell research should be done. Referring to it as “harvesting human embryos” doesn’t sit well on the ears of the listener – it should be referred to as embryonic replication something more subtle just like synthetic biology, is not named for what it is and that is playing God. When you are young you played with your parents tools, or wore moms high heels or surfed the net or put make up on to learn what your creator your mom and dad were like- you never took on the role of them you just copied them or altered their behavior in replication not literally became them.
    I hope this is televised or at least recorded for online viewing since i am in the USA and unable to attend due to academic and family obligations. I hope to hear some mention of the issues i addressed.

    Tore

    Lexington, KY USA

  2. Hi Tore. I am sure some of these issues will be mentioned. I will check if the debate is going to be recorded and put on the web somewhere.
    There was a similar kind of debate at the London Dana Centre last year.
    http://www.danacentre.org.uk/events/2008/05/28/399
    They have probably recorded it. You could also check with them.

    The issue of control is a tricky one. Do you think we can ever have complete knowledge of/control over anything we do?

  3. Just back from the debate. It was indeed recorded for a webcast, so keep checking their website!

  4. The podcast is now up. The video might be following soon, too!
    [audio src="http://richmedia.lse.ac.uk/publicLecturesAndEvents/20091126_1800_creatingTheOrganismsThatEvolutionForgotAnAnyquestionsDebateOnSyntheticBiology.mp3" /]

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