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Will Overregulation In Europe Stymie Synthetic Biology?

Henry I. Miller
Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Andrew Torrance's recent publication on synthetic biology received positive press in an online Forbes article.

Miller wrote:

Synthetic biology is only just emerging into public awareness. As it progresses, the field will present several dilemmas to both public opinion and existing legal and regulatory regimes. Two recent publications do much to introduce synthetic biology to the general public: “A synthetic biology roadmap for the UK,” from Research Councils UK; and “Planted Obsolescence: Synagriculture and the Law,” by Andrew Torrance, in the Idaho Law Review.

In his article Torrance explains that several organizations – for example, BioBricks (www.biobricks.org) and the International Genetically Engineered Machine (http://igem.org/About) – actively promote biotechnology as an open source discipline, a sharing of genetic designs, systems and modular components with no or minimal protection of intellectual property. The open source movement in biology, as in software, is antagonistic to corporate control and attempts to democratize the inventive process in biology.

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