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.

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JCVI, in collaboration with UC San Diego, recently completed a report on “Policy and Regulatory Issues for Gene Drives in Insects” outlining specific suggestions that could help advance this promising approach for combatting insect-borne human disease and insect agricultural pests, while ensuring that environmental safety and societal issues are addressed. This report builds on JCVI’s 2014 report, funded by the Department of Energy, on the adequacy of the U.S. biotechnology regulatory system as organisms engineered using synthetic biology enter the marketplace.

In 2015, JCVI’s Policy Center reviewed the current U.S. guidance for screening synthetic DNA, in place since 2010. “DNA Synthesis and Biosecurity: Lessons Learned and Options for the Future” is an update to the 2007 “Synthetic Genomics: Options for Governance” report linked below.