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The economic and social life of synthetic biology

On 13 and 14 April 2011, the Royal Society and The Royal Academy of Engineering are jointly hosted a two day symposium to discuss the economic and social impact of synthetic biology. For the first time, the expertise and networks of the six science and engineering academies from the UK, China and US have been brought together, producing a unique opportunity for researchers, policy makers and firms interested in this emerging field.

The first in a series of three symposia explored the potential for synthetic biology research to lead to novel tools and technology, as well as the challenges provoked by these innovations.

The keynote speaker Dr George Poste FRS CBE, Chief Scientist at Arizona State University, provided an overview of the field and how it builds on the intellectual and technical foundations of four decades of progress in molecular and systems biology, genetic engineering and industrial biotechnology. He also emphasised that the new technology poses important public policy questions regarding industrial competitiveness, safety, ethics and oversight.

The UK Science Minister, Rt Hon David Willetts, also spoke of the UK government’s support for synthetic biology and the importance of international collaboration.

View photos from this event

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