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Policy Center


As amply demonstrated throughout the 20th century, scientific and technological advancements frequently affect society in unintended ways. Hand-in-hand with its mission to advance the life sciences, the Venter Institute is committed to understanding the implications of these advances for society. The overarching goal of the Policy Center is to help decision makers understand and anticipate the impact of 21st century biology, and where appropriate, devise policies to enhance positive and avoid negative societal outcomes. JCVI recently led a 2-year project funded by the Department of Energy, with additional funding from the Sloan Foundation, on the adequacy of the U.S. regulatory system for biotechnology as organisms engineered using synthetic biology enter the marketplace. Ongoing studies include an update to the 2007 “Synthetic Genomics: Options for Governance” report linked below. The update will examine the strengths and weaknesses of the current U.S. guidelines, issued in 2010, for screening synthetic DNA.

Featured Highlights

Synthetic Biology and the U.S. Biotechnology Regulatory System

In recent years, a range of genetic engineering techniques referred to “synthetic biology” has significantly expanded the tool kit...

Synthetic Genomics | Options for Governance

Results of a 20-month examination of the safety and security concerns posed by synthetic genomics, by a core group of 18 individuals with a...

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