BioBricks, Biopunks and Bioentrepreneurs
Chapter 4: New directions? The United States Presidential Commission’s investigation of synthetic biology’s risks, benefits and oversight
Chapter 4 considers the role and recommendations of the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues’ inquiry into synthetic biology. The Presidential Commission published its findings in its report 'New Directions: The Ethics of Synthetic Biology and Emerging Technologies'. Chapter 4 critiques the recommendations, which are based on the principles of ‘public beneficence’, ‘democratic deliberation’, ‘intellectual freedom and responsibility’, ‘responsible stewardship’ and ‘justice and fairness’. The Presidential Commission was successful in creating a deliberative public forum for debate of the issues surrounding synthetic biology. However, it could have gone further in its recommendations, which emphasised the similarity between synthetic biology and earlier biotechnologies. It could have given greater consideration to the distinctiveness of the technology and the intellectual property and biosecurity issues.
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