Report Developed by the Ecological Community Highlights Priority Research Areas
Washington, DC — Environmental scientists and synthetic biologists have for the first time developed a set of key research areas to study the potential ecological impacts of synthetic biology, a field that could push beyond incremental changes to create organisms that transcend common evolutionary pathways.
The Synthetic Biology Project at the Wilson Center and the Program on Emerging Technologies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology convened the interdisciplinary group of scientists and are releasing the report, Creating a Research Agenda for the Ecological Implications of Synthetic Biology. The work was funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF).
“We hope this report raises awareness about the lack of research into these ecological issues,” says Dr. James Collins, Ullman Professor of Natural History and the Environment at Arizona State University and former Director of the Population Biology and Physiological Ecology Program and Assistant Director of Biological Sciences at NSF. “We involved experts in the ecological research and synthetic biology communities to help identify priority research areas – and we believe the report can be a roadmap to guide the necessary work. The rapid pace of research and commercialization in the field of synthetic biology makes it important to begin this work now.”
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