The development of a bio-economy capable of supplying the world's energy demand is where the synthetic biologists wish to take this the next step. Additionally, biologists are able to develop a sort of biological acolyte from the principles of synthetic biology, involving synthesizing DNA in combination with the raw building blocks of genetics. A new platform for different biological life form is essentially, what these biologists have discovered.
According to commission chairwoman, and the president of the University of Pennsylvania, Amy Gutmann, "Here's something significant in science, but there's no cause for fear and dread about what is going to happen immediately next." The commission report recommended greater ethical constraint and greater collaboration. Amy Gutmann, further states that ethics training be mandatory for all researchers in the field.
Opponents of the report include Brent Erickson, an executive in the biotech industry. According to the New York Times, Mr. Erickson called the report "reasonable, well balanced and insightful." He further states that synthetic biology "is not something radically new and threatening, but is part of an ongoing continuum of biotech innovation that has resulted in safe and successful products and public benefits for the past 15 or 20 years." (Pollack, 2010) a letter drafted by a consortium of a global network of environmental groups conjoining on this topic stating to officials, "the commission's lack of attention to the ecological harms posed by synthetic biology is irresponsible and dangerous, self-regulation amounts to no regulation." (Pollack, 2010)
The article is important as the beginning of a long dialogue in the area of bio ethics. Synthetic biology has the potential to dramatically affect the life of every individual on this planet by conceiving bio fuels and new drugs for debilitating diseases. The relevance of this topic to the course is in the development of the field into a new frontier.
"Awaiting Genome Payoff"
Source: www.nytimes.com June 15, 2010 Tuesday
Byline: Andrew Pollack
At Merk's "automated biotechnology facility" (Pollack, 2010) at North Wales, PA, scientists are utilizing robots to study individual cell activity when human genes are manipulated to be 'on and off'. The goal of the research is to determine which genes are connected to specific diseases as a means to create medication to counteract.
The human genome project is an ambitious project to map the function of each of 22,000 genes within the human body. The new research is a byproduct of this project and therefore is considered risky and potentially rendering no useful treatment or information. Although the activity of the research is at its infancy, there is a perception that time will prove the sweat and effort to be worthwhile. Drugs derived from the genome project are just now making their way to the market for distribution. The cancer designed genomic drugs, designed specifically to interact with genetic abnormalities to reduce tumor growth in cancer patients.
Indeed, a handful of companies have brought to market new drugs to treat specific diseases including osteoporosis. However, some say this "genome bubble" (Pollack, 2010) has burst and that a lack of pharmaceuticals targeted toward genome modification have not turned out at a high rate. Increases in spending on the genome project exceeded 40 billion in 2009 with no major uptick in the number of available drugs to the population. Additionally, the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has increased the testing requirements on the drugs in the pipeline development phase.
Industry executives note that although there is considerable risk and high costs, the project will pay of as a function of time. Assuming they are not out to just keep their job, the idea is as the development stage in its entirety, from drug discovery to marketing to consumers, can approach two decades. Executives at a number of top biotech firms have praised the genome project and its power as an enabler of drug research and drug development.
The article is accurate as it is inclusive of key executives holding top positions within the top biopharmaceutical companies in the world. Additionally, input from regulators is also provided. The human genome project and this subsequent research will undoubtedly affect our lives. Disease and ailments will be understood at the genetic level where new medication can address genetic deficiencies that enable these conditions. The relevance of this article to biology is as essential as Gregor…