Environmental campaigners are urging developing countries to include the rapidly advancing science of synthetic biology — the building of new organisms using genes as biological 'bricks' — in their biosafety legislation for genetically modified (GM) crops.
They are concerned that synthetic biology products based on novel organisms could be developed, and commercialised, before there is regulation and understanding of their environmental and societal impacts.
With many countries in the midst of legislating for the arrival of GM crops, now is the time to include frameworks for dealing with synthetic organisms as well, according to Eric Hoffman, a biotechnology expert at Friends of the Earth (FoE), the environmental campaigning organisation.
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Author: Mićo Tatalović