ISGP Podcast: Jekyll and Hyde

Synthetic biology has the potential to change live — it already does in some cases — in the world of infectious disease, food security, etc. But it’s also one of the most dangerous scientific advancements out there, considering how it could be manipulated for nefarious purposes almost as easily, in a practical sense, as it can be used for good.

In the second installment of our two-episode deep-dive into synthetic biology, the co-hosts unwrap the biodefense concerns associated with “synbio” and discuss options for voluntary self-governance at the industry level.

Synthetic biology, the ability to manipulate the genomes of different organisms, can be, in a way, weaponized. And that’s why we need to be concerned about effectively regulating its use, but without stifling research and innovation.

The potential solutions and pitfalls were discussed during the debate of a policy position paper written by Dr. Amy Smithson of the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies. The paper, “Renovating Governance Strategies for Synthetic Biology and other Dual-Use Technologies,” was presented at the 2012 ISGP conference 21st Century Borders/Synthetic Biology: Focus on Responsibility and Governance conference in Tucson, Arizona.

For more podcasts, visit ISGP’s The Forum and please consider sharing this episode.