Note: this section is under construction. For the time being we recommend taking a look at the fantastic work done by the iGEM Foundation on Human Practices in Synthetic Biology. Their work provides a clear overview of the basics, with examples and videos about how you can incorporate concepts of responsible research and innovation into your work.
Biotechnology is more than just a laboratory-based discipline. Synthetic biology requires philosophers, scientists, lawmakers and citizens to carefully consider the outcomes of work being done in the lab, as well as its impact on patients, consumers and society in general. Safety, security, ethics, human rights, policy and law as it relates to synthetic biology innovations are all important topics of discussion in the field of human practices.
The synthetic biology community is a vibrant and engaged group, with a diverse set of opinions. The vast majority are united in their goal of having the field understood by the public, and many practitioners of synthetic biology work hard to bring their research into the public limelight. A core tenet of human practices in synthetic biology is the concept of Responsible Research and Innovation.
Biotechnology allows humans to manipulate and create biological organisms, including pathogens and human cells. As such there is a risk that the technologies involved could be misused in order to cause harm to human beings, the ecosystem, or the economy. Securing the technology, and ensuring that it cannot be misused, is therefore a key consideration for any laboratory, organisation or country.
Generally speaking, the synthetic biology community is highly tuned into ethical issues. We aim to provide a good overview on the ethical and moral discussions going on in the broad field of Synthetic Biology on this site and we can only do it with you.