Friday, May 9, 2014

Synthetic Biology Governance

Bryn Nelson has published an excellent article in the leading science journal, Nature, on some of the legal, ethical, economic, and democratic issues raised by patent and open source models of innovation in synthetic biology.  Entitled Synthetic Biology:  Cultural Divide, the article provides a vivid snapshot of the current state of synthetic biology, a field that is at once exploding in influence and bedeviled with uncertainty about how its DNA building blocks will, and should, be governed.  I was honored that Nelson included me among the synthetic biology scholars he interviewed for his article.  I have previously published several articles on synthetic biology, including Synthesizing Law for Synthetic Biology (2010), DNA Copyright (2011) and Planted Obsolescence: Synagriculture and the Law (2012).  In addition, I was commissioned by the National Academies (with coauthor Dr. Linda Kahl) to write a report, entitled Synthetic Biology Standards and Intellectual Property, that I presented at the National Academies in Washington, D.C., on November 4, 2013.  An article based on this report was recently published as Bringing Standards to Life: Synthetic Biology Standards and Intellectual Property (2014).  The evolution of synthetic biology continues to be fascinating.