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Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Funds Synthetic Biology Initiative to Examine Societal Issues

The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation is launching a new initiative to study societal issues associated with synthetic biology with three grants totaling more than $1.6 million to The Hastings Center, the J. Craig Venter Institute, and the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

At the Hastings Center, Foundation funding will allow for in-depth investigation into ethical issues that may arise in connection with developments in synthetic biology. The project aims to make serious contributions to scholarly literature, produce a base for further scholarship, and inform public policymaking.

Alfred P. Sloan Foundation funding will allow the J. Craig Venter Institute to examine potential societal concerns associated with developments in synthetic genomics. The project will both inform the scientific community about these issues while also educating the policy and journalistic communities about the science. As a result, scientists, journalists and policymakers will be able to engage in informed discussions.

A grant to the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars will analyze evolving public perceptions of potential societal risks that may arise related to research in and applications of synthetic biology, clarify whether our existing regulatory systems can address relevant risks that may be associated with the science, and inform and educate policymakers.

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sulleny

Sloan Foundation does excellent work IMO.

And a key area of study should be in the limiting of synthetic reproduction cycles. Without long term (50-100 years minimum) analysis of synthetic biological impact on human development - caution should be applied.

We should proceed slowly in development and quickly in our understanding of how such organisms reproduce and evolve. And an entire new set of precautionary measures should be undertaken to preserve organic biology in the face of synthetics. For some of us, cotton still breathes better than dacron. And is essential to preserve.

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