Comments on Synthetic Biology and Engineering Ethics - Jim Kealey
Author(s): Jim Kealey
Director of Molecular Biology at Amyris
Questions/reflections focused on ethical issues that seem key to developing socially responsible synthetic biology:
- What mechanisms are most conducive to establishing fruitful collaborations between social and natural scientists, to help transcend “catchy rhetoric” and add value for science and society?
- What ethical boundaries should govern enabling technologies in Synthetic Biology? Can we construct an “ethics meter” that measures societal concern for synthetic biology applications? Such a tool could help scientists and the general public gauge which activities rank low versus high in terms of societal concern. For example, the use of synthetic biology tools for manipulation of microorganisms might register lower on the ethics meter than manipulation of plants. The manipulation of plants might register lower than manipulation of mammals etc.
Personal reflection about the shape that collaboration between engineering ethics and an emerging technology like synthetic biology should take?
- Synthetic biology is sometimes described as an extension of genetic engineering technology. As a scientific discipline, genetic engineering has a long and safe track record and has been the subject of prior ethical scrutiny. To what extent should synthetic biology be covered under the genetic engineering ethical umbrella?
What activities and materials should have priority in ethics training in synthetic biology?
- Materials and activities given priority: Case studies or examples of constructive collaboration between social and natural scientists would provide guidance for establishing a framework for future projects and outreach activities.
Cite this page:
"Comments on Synthetic Biology and Engineering Ethics - Jim Kealey"
Online Ethics Center for Engineering
National Academy of Engineering
Accessed: Tuesday, May 21, 2013