Ethics Overview

Synthetic Biology is a revolutionary scientific discipline. The ability to design and construct new biological systems with useful properties opens up a challenging scenario for the technological development of humanity. However, new science needs new regulation, and Human Practices dealing with Synthetic Biology are needed in order to have an ethical, legal and regulatory framework allowing the development of this novel scientific area.

Sins, Ethics and Biology, a Comprehensive Approach is more than a review on Human Practices and Synthetic Biology: it emcompasses a classical review of scientific reports on Human Practices; the first comparative analysis of previous iGEM HP projects; interviews with well known experts; and the largest survey on ethics and synthetic biology ever made.

The complete report has been edited as a book and you can get the free pdf file here (else, you can also find a heavy version of the report at MegaUpload). Its goal is to help researchers and people interested in SB to assess the new risks, possibilities, and ethical issues of this discipline.

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The Review : We have prepared a classical review on scientific reports about Synthetic Biology and its ethical consequences. You will get a complete overview of the present status of this new emerging field. Ideas of well-known scientist about different topics are gathered here: Definition of SB, The engineering principles of the field, Applications, new chemically different biomolecules, ethical problems with genetic engineering, Europe and USA and teaching and learning SB.

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Human Practices: iGEM 2005-2008: We are the first to study all the reports on previous iGEM editions, and gathered their conclusions in a single work. In this part of the book you will understand the ethical concerns of iGEM participants and its evolution during the whole life of the competition.

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The Survey: With more than 1200 answers we have made the largest survey on Synthetic Biology of the history. It was adressed to a very different public including scientific and no scientific people, people from inside and outside the iGEM, and Students and Teachers from all over the world. To encourage iGEM participants to fill our survey we prepared medals that teams can show in their wiki according to their degree of participation. This Survey has also helped us to get the largest collection of Synthetic Biology's definitions.

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The Experts: We have personally interviewed two well-known experts, Antoine Danchin and Markus Schmidt to gather their opinions about every aspect of Synthetic Biology. They have also filled our survey so you can compare your answers to theirs, how close are your ideas to the ones of the experts?