Oxnard, Calif., June 25, 2007 With research backgrounds ranging from materials engineering to molecular biophysics, seventeen leading scientists issued a statement today announcing that, much as the discovery of DNA and creation of the transistor revolutionized science, there is a new scientific field on the brink of revolutionizing our approach to problems ranging from eco-safe energy to outbreaks of malaria.
That research area is synthetic biology the construction or redesign of biological systems components that do not naturally exist, by combining the engineering applications and practices of nanoscience with molecular biology.
The early twenty-first century is a time of tremendous promise and tremendous peril, includes the statement. We face daunting problems of climate change, energy, health, and water resources. Synthetic biology offers solutions to these issues: microorganisms that convert plant matter to fuels or that synthesize new drugs or target and destroy rogue cells in the body.
The two-page statement calls for an international effort to advance synthetic biology that would not only propel research, but do so while developing protective measures against accidents and abuses of synthetic biology.
The statement was issued following the conclusion of the first Kavli Futures Symposium, held June 11-15 in Ilulissat, Greenland. Signed unanimously, signatories include scientists from the California Institute of Technology, Carnegie Institution of Washington, Cornell University, J. Craig Venter Institute, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, the Institute for Advanced Study, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Princeton University, Stanford University, and University of California at Berkeley (United States); Ecole Normale Superieure (France); Delft University of Technology (The Netherlands); Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics, TU Dresden (Germany); Weizman Institute of Science (Israel);
Contact: Blaine Friedlander
Cornell University News Service