Getting Real About Synthetic Biology

The implications of the world’s first “synthetic life form” rank with those of the first controlled nuclear chain reaction in 1942, or the construction of the first true digital computer, ENIAC, in 1946. Once again, mankind has transformed an enormously powerful scientific tool (in this case, genomics) into an earth-shattering, game-changing technology that can now be applied to extremely important, real-world problems. However, realizing the enormous benefits of this technology and minimizing its potential dangers require a proper response on the part of individuals, businesses, and government. How are policies and attitudes likely to evolve, and how should we think about these issues?

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