Policy Forum

Synthetic Biology: Regulating Industry Uses of New Biotechnologies

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Science  02 Sep 2011:
Vol. 333, Issue 6047, pp. 1254-1256
DOI: 10.1126/science.1211066

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In our view, synthetic biology is an extension of the continuum of genetic science that has been used safely for more than 40 years by the biotechnology industry in the development of commercial products. Examples of synthetic biology use by biotechnology companies illustrate the potential to substantially reduce research and development time and to increase speed to market. Improvements in the speed and cost of DNA synthesis are enabling scientists to design modified bacterial chromosomes that can be used in the production of renewable chemicals, biofuels, bioproducts, renewable specialty chemicals, pharmaceutical intermediates, fine chemicals, food ingredients, and health care products. Regulatory options should support innovation and commercial development of new products while protecting the public from potential harms.

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