Synthetic Biology

Synthetic biology brings together engineering and the life sciences in order to design and construct new biological parts, devices and systems that do not currently exist in the natural world or to tweak the designs of existing biological systems. Synthetic biologists, engaged in a kind of extreme genetic engineering, hope to construct designer organisms that perform specific tasks such as producing biofuels or other high-value compounds.

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Andean farmers forced Colorado State University to surrender its US patent on 'Apelawa" quinoa. The anti-patent campaign that began 14 months ago (1997) ended on May 1st 1998 when on eof the quinoa 'inventors' admitted that the patent had been abandoned.

The Biosafety protocol on GM crops was a big thing in January, but the meeting about to begin in Neuchatel addresses a 'clear and present danger' to world food security. A brave little band of 'biocrats' could decide the fate of the scientific exchange of crop genetics. Their political bosses don't even know they've left town!