As amply demonstrated throughout the 20th century, scientific and technological advancements frequently affect society in unintended ways. Genomics is no exception. Hand-in-hand with its mission to advance the science of genomics, the Venter Institute is committed to understanding the implications of this new science 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 completed a 20-month, Sloan Foundation funded review (done in conjunction with MIT and CSIS) of synthetic biology and has issued a report on options for governance of the field. Future projects will include addressing access to genetic resources in other countries and the policy issues related to human genome sequencing.