With the advent of our advanced biological-scientific age, there has never before in history been such a potential for both benefit and risk to humanity.
Many advanced biological endeavors such as nanotechnology, embryonic stem cell technologies, gene therapy and genetically engineered foods have moved into our lives with benefits promised but still to be discovered. Nevertheless, with the push to advance these technologies for discovery and profit and to endear them to the public, little research and money is given to understand the risks and threats that are inherent in developing these technologies. This is bad news for the public.
The dangers that these advanced technologies pose can impact our health, society and culture. Some of the health related threats to name a few are chronic illness, cancer and new emerging disease in humans and other species of life.
Within the past few years another new scientific advancement has been slowly emerging: Synthetic Biology.
Synthetic Biology is the science of creating new life, new biological systems and new biochemical pathways that are not found in nature. It can even create new pathogens.
Synthetic Biology employs a variety of interdisciplinary skills using microbiology, recombinant DNA technologies, bioinformatics, nanotechnology, biochemistry and cell biology.
As with other advanced technologies, synthetic biology is an open research field with little regulatory oversight to protect the public. It is another technology that the public needs to be concerned about as new advanced technologies are developed, patented and used on the public without appropriate risk management and public education.