Will Synthetic Biology Benefit or Threaten Wild Things?

April 12, 2013

In his New York Times blog, Andrew Revkin shares a note he received from WCS President and CEO, Cristián Samper, on a meeting held at Cambridge University to discuss how synthetic biology and conservation will shape the future of nature.

This was the question asked at a symposium organized by the Wildlife Conservation Society at Cambridge University this week, attended by about 80 synthetic biologists and conservationists. These are two communities that have never come together and, like a first date, we were examining each other and building some trust.

It was clear that synthetic biology — which involves the engineering of life — was advancing rapidly and inevitably could impact the world’s biodiversity – and could be either a positive or negative. The conservationists from WCS, The Nature Conservancy, WWF, Fauna & Flora International, and other leading groups and academic institutions, all wanted to know more.

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