Synthetic biology (synbio) is an extreme version of genetic engineering. Instead of swapping genes from one species to another (as in genetic engineering), synthetic biology creates entirely new forms of life – or reprograms organisms to do things that would not naturally occur. Synbio uses a variety of techniques, including constructing synthetic (human made) DNA.
Industry is currently racing to commercialise a range of synbio products whilst scientists are only just beginning to grapple with the potential environmental, human health and societal risks posed by this technology. A binding international legal framework, developed with input from civil society – not just industry – is urgently needed to regulate the risks posed by synbio before synthetically modified organisms are commercially released.
From 6th-17th October at the Convention on Biological Diversity meeting (COP 12) in South Korea delegates will discuss synbio. Please contact the Australian Minister for the Environment Greg Hunt and demand that Australia take a precautionary approach to synbio and support a global moratorium on its commercialisation.
Thanks for taking a stand!