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Nanotech and synbio: Americans don't know what's coming
Date:9/29/2008

Washington, DC A groundbreaking poll finds that almost half of U.S. adults have heard nothing about nanotechnology, and nearly nine in 10 Americans say they have heard just a little or nothing at all about the emerging field of synthetic biology, according to a new report released by the Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies (PEN) and Peter D. Hart Research. Both technologies involve manipulating matter at an incredibly small scale to achieve something new.

This new insight into limited public awareness of emerging technologies comes as a major leadership change is about to take hold in the nation's capital. Public policy experts are concerned, regardless of party, that the federal government is behind the curve in engaging citizens on the potential benefits and risks posed by technologies that could have a significant impact on society.

"Early in the administration of the next president, scientists are expected to take the next major step toward the creation of synthetic forms of life. Yet the results from the first U.S. telephone poll about synthetic biology show that most adults have heard just a little or nothing at all about it," says PEN Director David Rejeski. The poll findings are contained a report published today, The American Public's Awareness Of And Perceptions About Potential Risks and Benefits of Nanotechnology & Synthetic Biology, and available at: www.nanotechproject.org/n/synbio_poll . This page is limited access until the embargo is lifted. Login: synbio Password: advance

Synthetic biology is the use of advanced science and engineering to construct or re-design living organismslike bacteriaso that they can carry out specific functions. This emerging technology is likely to develop rapidly in the coming years, much as nanotechnology did in the last decade. In the near future the first synthetic biology "blockbuster" drug is anticipated to hit the marketan af
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Contact: Colin Finan
colin.finan@wilsoncenter.org
202-691-4321
Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies
Source:Eurekalert

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