Scientists examine the potential – and the risks – of Synthetic Biology
by Theo Vermeire, Head of Department Nanotechnology, Occupational Health and Transport Safety Centre for Safety of Substances and Products, RIVM, The Netherlands. Chair of the Scientific Committees Working Group on the SynBio Opinions
SCENIHR, SCHER and SCCS Opinions on Synthetic Biology
Synthetic biology (SynBio) has already delivered important products to the market such as yeast-synthesized artemisinin and biodegradable plastics produced from sugars. There is a potential for substantial contributions to medicine, materials, chemistry, food, nutrition, energy, sustainability, waste treatment, and safety. Yet, like for many new and emerging technologies, there is controversy leading to fierce debates on SynBio’s potential for societal benefit, or risks.
The UN Convention on Biological Diversity held its 12th Conference of t