(Garrison NY) A Hastings Center workshop examining moral issues in synthetic biology completed its third meeting as the J. Craig Venter Group announced that it had created the first viable cell with a synthetic genome. "Synthetic biology certainly raises deep philosophical and moral questions about the human relationship to nature," according to Gregory Kaebnick, a Hastings Center scholar who is managing the project. "It's not clear what the answers to those questions are. If by 'nature' we mean the world around us, more or less as we found it, we may well decide that synthetic biology does not really change the human relationship to natureand may even help us preserve what is left of it."
Nor is it clear that the questions raised by synthetic biology are new ones. According to Thomas H. Murray, president of The Hastings Center and the project's principal investigator, "We have come up against similar problems in other domainsmost notably, in work on nanotechnology and gene transfer technologybut synthetic biology poses them especially sharply and pressingly."
|Contact: Mike Turton|
The Hastings Center