2017
DOI: 10.7554/elife.30247
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A transatlantic perspective on 20 emerging issues in biological engineering

Abstract: Advances in biological engineering are likely to have substantial impacts on global society. To explore these potential impacts we ran a horizon scanning exercise to capture a range of perspectives on the opportunities and risks presented by biological engineering. We first identified 70 potential issues, and then used an iterative process to prioritise 20 issues that we considered to be emerging, to have potential global impact, and to be relatively unknown outside the field of biological engineering. The iss… Show more

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Cited by 48 publications
(48 citation statements)
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“…As synthetic biology's public face grows, including public debates on de-extinction (Sumner and Carey 2013), it seems inevitable that synthetic biology will find its place in conservation and ecology. Although a lack of bidirectional communication between conservation practitioners and synthetic biologists has been identified as an emerging issue in the field of synthetic biology (Wintle et al 2017), this issue is beginning to be redressed. Initiatives such as Revive and Restore (www.reviveandrestore.org) bring together scientists, zoos, and synthetic biology companies for the purposes of bio-banking, sequencing, reproductive technology, de-extinction, cloning, and development of synthetic alternatives to wildlife-derived products.…”
mentioning
confidence: 99%
“…As synthetic biology's public face grows, including public debates on de-extinction (Sumner and Carey 2013), it seems inevitable that synthetic biology will find its place in conservation and ecology. Although a lack of bidirectional communication between conservation practitioners and synthetic biologists has been identified as an emerging issue in the field of synthetic biology (Wintle et al 2017), this issue is beginning to be redressed. Initiatives such as Revive and Restore (www.reviveandrestore.org) bring together scientists, zoos, and synthetic biology companies for the purposes of bio-banking, sequencing, reproductive technology, de-extinction, cloning, and development of synthetic alternatives to wildlife-derived products.…”
mentioning
confidence: 99%
“…Such knowledge is needed in an era where synthetic biology may introduce new risks for biological error and biological terror. Detecting and understanding SLiM variants can help to reduce such risks and identify newly emerging threats to global health and security because watch lists for harmful organisms to ensure public safety by preventing access to select known risks may be inadequate [21][22][23].…”
Section: Discussionmentioning
confidence: 99%
“…It may be necessary to evaluate risks of new functions by other means than taxonomy or even protein functional evaluations. Instead, new methods are needed that assess functions at a finer resolution than the gene, whether by computational analysis or functional phenotypic assessments [21][22][23]. SLiM analysis might help with such assessments.…”
Section: How Viruses Do More With Lessmentioning
confidence: 99%
“…In particular, both Brand () and Lynas (2011) envision an important role for biotechnology and synthetic biology, which they claim will enable the production of more resilient crops with higher yields, clean and renewable biofuels, and microbes engineered to cleanse polluted environments and sequester carbon. Recent breakthroughs in gene editing and DNA synthesis have enabled new techniques for restoring damaged ecosystems, conserving endangered species, improving biological fixation of carbon, developing bio‐based materials, and boosting crop yields by enhancing the efficiency of photosynthesis (Maxmen, ; Wintle et al, ), thereby raising hopes among environmentalists and governments that the emerging ‘bioeconomy’ can help solve sustainability challenges (Synthetic Biology Leadership Council, ).…”
Section: The Fourth Industrial Revolutionmentioning
confidence: 99%