Monday, December 10, 2007

A useful map into bio-ethics

I have complained in the past, I couldn't find a satisfying way into questions of bio-ethics through podcasts. I encountered factual explanations of what the bio-technology is capable of (or could be) or an overly religious version of ethicizing which gave me the idea the conclusions were set in advance. With a recent podcast from UChannel, I was refreshed with a more complete approach: Beyond the Genome: the challenge of synthetic biology.

Oct 24, 2007 at London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE): The 1970s introduced genetic modification, the 1990s cloning and GM food, and the human genome was sequenced in 2000. Synthetic biology is heralded as the next frontier. But what is synthetic biology and how do we imagine its future directions? What are the implications of this new field for scientists, lawyers, regulators and ethicists? What social and political challenges does it pose and what role will the social sciences, the humanities and the public play in shaping the direction of this new field?

Panelists: Sarah Franklin who does anthropological research around synthetic biology; Peter Lipton the philosopher (he appears here one month before his untimely death); Chris Mason Head of the Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine Bioprocessing Unit in the UCL Advanced Centre for Biochemical Engineering; Dr J Craig Venter founder of The Institute for Genomic Research.
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