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Krangel over standard for syntetisk biologi

september 1, 2009

Manglende internasjonal standard for kontroll av syntetisk biologi
skaper fremtidig trussel fra bioterrorister

A standards war is brewing in the gene-synthesis industry. At stake is the way that the industry screens orders for hazardous toxins and genes, such as pieces of deadly viruses and bacteria. Two competing groups of companies are now proposing different sets of screening standards, and the results could be crucial for global biosecurity.

“If you have a company that persists with a lower standard, you can drag the industry down to a lower level,” says lawyer Stephen Maurer of the University of California, Berkeley, who is studying how the industry is developing responsible practices. “Now we have a standards war that is a race to the bottom.”

For more than a year a European consortium of companies called the International Association of Synthetic Biology (IASB) based in Heidelberg, Germany, has been drawing up a code of conduct that includes gene-screening standards. Then, at a meeting in San Francisco last month, two of the leading companies — DNA2.0 of Menlo Park, California, and Geneart of Regensburg, Germany — announced that they had formulated a code of conduct that differs in one key respect from the IASB recommendations.

Fra Nature News. Samtidig fortsetter «Human Genome Project»-gründer Craig Venter å koke sammen selv-repliserende syntetiske organismer i sitt eget Craig Venter Institute.

Opprinnelig publisert på bloggen til Lifeboat Foundation.

Malapropo; her manipuleres andre forhold en biologiske, nemlig geologiske (geoengineering). Fra samme kilde ihvertfall (Nature):

Other ideas were viewed more favourably. Artificial weathering, the acceleration of geological carbon-absorbing processes, was among the most promising ways to capture carbon, according to the panel. Filling agricultural land with carbonate and silicate compounds could turn fields into carbon sponges, absorbing massive amounts of carbon dioxide. And seeding the stratosphere with sulphate aerosols — a process that would increase the atmosphere’s reflectivity — could mimic the immediate cooling effects of major volcanic eruptions. The sulphate strategy has the advantage of being a quick way to cool the planet, Shepherd says. But to keep it cool, «you have to keep it going for many decades or possibly centuries», he says. «There is no silver bullet.»

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