Synthetic Biology

Assessing the risks and benefits of emerging biotechnology tools.

Assessing the risks and benefits of emerging biotechnology tools.

The emerging field of synthetic genomics (the creation of long stretches of DNA to serve as an organism's genome) is a quintessential "dual use" technology. As such, it introduces both risks and benefits. It has the potential for pathbreaking scientific discovery, including the development of new drugs and vaccines and alternative energy sources. However, it could also have the potential for malicious use, such as the creation of biological weapons.

This project sought to better understand the potential risks and benefits associated with this technology by engaging scientists, policymakers, and others through a series of expert workshops. Bringing multiple perspectives to bear on technological and societal concerns, the project evaluated options for oversight, governance, monitoring, and control to safeguard against potential abuse while protecting the promise of beneficial applications.



International Security Program