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12th International Conference on STRUCTURAL AND MOLECULAR BIOLOGY

Osaka, Japan

Krishna Dronamraju

Krishna Dronamraju

Foundation for Genetic Research, USA

Title: Ethics of Synthetic Biology


Biography: Krishna Dronamraju


Synthetic biology is concerned with the design and construction of new biological parts, devices and systems and the re-design of existing, natural biological systems for useful purposes. The convergence of scientific fields such as molecular biology, computer science and others has rendered it a natural progression, based on existing knowledge. The fact that humanity has reached a stage of development where it seems feasible to create life, or design it to a high degree of specificity, is a significant milestone in its history. It generates important ethical questions: Is synthetic biology something good, a natural use of humanity’s talents, or is it a step towards megalomania, playing God, a usurpation of his role? Is it really a natural progression, nature advancing to a state where its products can, in turn, improve nature itself; or does it challenge the dignity of nature by virtue of its unnaturalness? Is it an expression of the creative talent of humanity, thus enhancing human dignity and perhaps that of all life, or does it challenge the dignity of life itself? Regarding its potential consequences, it may, if it succeeds, lead humanity to a new level of development, a paradigm shifts comparable with the scientific or industrial revolutions, through a vast increase in scientific knowledge and subsequent technological developments in all relevant areas, including medicine, food production and fuel development. However, there is potential for serious accidents if synthetic organisms interact with naturally occurring ones, possibly affecting the future course of evolution. Synthetic biology also offers the possibility of creating ever more powerful weapons. It offers potential for both good and evil which appears to be greater than any other technology that has existed.