Synthetic biology is an extreme form of genetic engineering, an emerging technology that is developing rapidly and entering the marketplace.
Synthetic biology could have serious impacts on the health of people and ecosystems, on our planet’s biodiversity and for communities on the front lines of corporations’ plans to deploy new technologies and novel organisms for profit.
For do one criterion about this topic, we need know that is Synthetic Biology and their advantages and disadvantages about environment, the life in this world and the changes that brings the new science. In this paper show some benefits and danger that have by sinthetic biology.
“I find that the scientific community is sensitive to the need for appropriate control of research and that the scientific community does this better than outside groups.” [That is the message from Asilomar and the message from the Fink report [issued by the National Research Council in 2003 reviewing regulations of dual-use biological research].
The benefits of pursuing synthetic biology can be divided into two categories: advancing basic knowledge and creating new products.
The biologists have to first do the basic scientific work of determining
what are the minimal requirements for life.One goal of synthetic biology is to better answer basic questions about the natural world and to elucidate complex biological processes—about how DNA, cells, organisms and biological systems function.
How did life begin? How does a collection of chemicals become animated life? And of course, what is life? Synthetic biologists
take to heart the last words that the physicist Richard Feynman putatively wrote on his chalkboard: “What I cannot create I do not
One of the hopes is that, by engineering or reengineering living organisms in the lab, synthetic biologists will be able to understand how the biological world works in areas where earlier analytical approaches fell short. As the molecular biologist Steven Benner has suggested, the proof of the pudding may be in the making.
A second sort of benefit of synthetic biology would come in the form of practical applications, such as the creation of new energy sources, new biodegradable plastics, new tools to clean-up environments, new ways of manufacturing medicines and new weapons.
It is hoped not only that these applications will create products that are completely new but also that their production will be cleaner, faster and cheaper than we can currently
Many experts argued that synthetic biology would contribute immensely to a future that enables energy independence from traditional sources, and also better prepare modern societies against the threat of infectious disease outbreaks or pandemics. Yet that free-wheeling community also presents a challenge for the federal government, which wants to ensure that rogue individuals don’t intentionally or unintentionally pose dangers by unwisely tinkering with infectious disease agents or unleashing new synthetic organisms upon the environment. One solution to the scrutiny problem may come from boosting collaboration between professional researchers and garage biologists, experts said.
“The biggest challenge is not necessarily creating life, but knowing that you have created life” George Attard
Some harms are about potential physical harms, such as those that might be done to the health of persons or the environment if a synthesized molecule or organism mutated or escaped and contaminated someone or something.
“Adapting to the human lifestyle is very complicated, so I would guess that we would fail if we tried to engineer a dangerous organism. Ebola, for example, is very pathogenic. It infects families and health workers, but it never spreads widely because it is too lethal – it isn’t in the community long enough to spread. Bird flu is not likely to spread widely until it mutates to become less pathogenic”
The ways in which synthetic organisms will interact with the natural environment are unpredictable and potentially devastating and permanent.
Some discussion of physical harms distinguishes between known harms (for example, we know that the synthetically engineered smallpox virus could be fatal
to anyone exposed), unknown harms (for example, although we know that bacteria and viruses mutate rather quickly, we do not know how a synthetically engineered
virus or bacterium will mutate) and unknown unknowns (that is, harms that, given the
current state of our knowledge, we cannot yet anticipate).
There is often debate about whether a proposed means to respond to risk of physical harm is ethical. For instance, one mechanism for dealing with security concerns, secrecy, has been called both ethically necessary and unethical.
The concern that humans might be overreaching when we create organisms that never before existed can be a safety concern, but it also returns us to disagreements about what is our proper role in the natural world (a debate largely about non-physical harms or
harms to well-being).
There is also some, although often not as much, agreement that preventing or reducing non-physical harms is an important social goal. That is, we have some agreement at the level of core values that human flourishing is good; we should work to preserve equality, promote prosperity and uphold shared moral values. But compared with physical harms, there is significantly more disagreement about whether a particular activity threatens these values, how we should reduce nonphysical harm, who should be responsible and what may be sacrificed along the way. We do not always agree about what counts as a non-physical harm, because we disagree about what is human well-being, or about how best to understand fairness, equality and our appropriate attitude toward nature. It is crucial to recognize that, as with physical harms, we disagree about nonphysical harms because we adopt different ethical frameworks. In fact, we suggest here that the roots of the disagreements about physical and non-physical harms are often
intimately related, if not the same.
Experts emphasized the need for better risk assessment for future synthetic biology products, as well as perhaps mandatory surveillance by companies that do commercial DNA synthesis.