Q&A: Ethics chair on synthetic biology

The Scientist speaks with the chair of a presidential bioethics commission, which decided this week that synthetic biology should not be too harshly regulated by the U.S. government

Jef Akst
Jef Akst

Jef Akst is managing editor of The Scientist, where she started as an intern in 2009 after receiving a master’s degree from Indiana University in April 2009 studying the mating behavior of seahorses.

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This week, an ethics board convened by U.S. President Barack Obama reached some conclusions about the ethics of this year's landmark experiment in synthetic biology, in which researchers at the J. Craig Venter Institute in Rockville, Maryland, linkurl:inserted a synthetic genome into a bacterium,; raising concerns about the creation of life. () For the last 5 months, the 12-member Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues has been examining the safety concerns and ethical implications of the issue, meeting this week to discuss and summarize their findings for a report due to the White House on December 15.
Dr. Amy Gutmann, Chair of the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues and President of the University of Pennsylvania
Photo Source: University of Pennsylvania
The Scientist spoke with chair linkurl:Amy Gutmann,; president of the University of Pennsylvania, about the commission's conclusions that, despite the potential risks of creating synthetic...
The Scientist:Amy Gutmann:TS:AG:TS:TS:AG:TS:AG:

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