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The Transnational Governance of Synthetic Biology: Scientific uncertainty, cross-borderness and the 'art' of governance

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned report

Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherBIOS Centre, London School of Economics
Commissioning bodyRoyal Society Science Policy Centre
Number of pages37
VolumeBIOS working paper no. 4
PublishedMay 2011

Publication series

NameBIOS working paper
No.No. 4


King's Authors


Synthetic biology is a new field of research that aims to 'make biology easier to engineer'. Some claim that it could revolutionise biotechnology to deliver applications for the energy, medical and agricultural sectors. However there are concerns about potential environmental and health risks, the creation of monopolies dominated by large multinational corporations, and the ethics of creating artificial life. How should synthetic biology be best governed to maximise benefits and minimise risks? In the last seven years, some 40 reports (in the English language alone) have addressed the social, ethical and legal issues raised by synthetic biology. This Working Paper, based on an extensive literature review and fieldwork in the UK, China and Japan, BIOS proposes a radical new approach to these issues.

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