LERN DEBATE 2018 – Synthetic biology
Recent technological advances are allowing scientists to redesign organisms or even build new life forms from scratch. This new developing area of research steps beyond traditional Genetic Modification (GM), to combine science and engineering in what is known as Synthetic Biology.
Technologies such as CRISPR-Cas are already allowing us to apply GM to a wide range of fields, from pest control to human genome editing. But these potential practical applications are huge, such as bioengineered micromachines/microorganisms that can destroy cancer cells, detect toxic chemicals or produce drugs that are otherwise incredibly difficult to obtain from nature.
Is society ready for this new discipline? Where should the limits be set? What are the benefits and the risks of these “by-design” organisms?
Four prominent researchers specialised in Synthetic Biology from different backgrounds will discuss these and other pressing questions in our annual debate organised in association with the Linnean Society.
- Professor Robert Edwards (Head of Natural and Environmental Sciences, University of Newcastle)
- Dr Pablo Carbonell (Senior Staff Scientist at the SynBioChem Centre, Manchester Institute of Biotechnology)
- Dr Louise Horsfall (Senior Lecturer in Biotechnology at the University of Edinburgh and EPSRC Early Career Fellow)
- Professor Jim Dunwell (Professor of Plant Biotechnology at the University of Reading)
Date: 19th April 2018, from 5.30pm
Venue: The Linnean Society of London, Burlington House, Piccadilly, London, W1J 0BF, United Kingdom
See debates from previous years here