Home Overview Press Room Blog Publications For Students about us

In an engineered world, who benefits from biological diversity?

by Molly Bond and Deborah ScottThe Guardian
December 22nd, 2016

A human hand grips onto a microphone.

Untitled Document

A global summit on biodiversity has sparked debate over whether advances in the life sciences are encouraging biopiracy

Outside the conference hall of the Moon Palace, a luxury Cancun resort, warm waves lapped white sands, bathed in a pink Mexican sunset. Inside, close to two hundred delegates to the United Nations’ 2016 biodiversity conference huddled around a doorway, desperate to get into a windowless room for the final evening’s negotiating session. In the end, most of the crowd made it into room, to witness twenty or so country delegates hammer out compromise text late into the night. This wasn’t what they had expected from a UN summit. But the issue under discussion – synthetic biology – is an unusual topic.

Synthetic biology is often described as the application of engineering principles to biology. Some see it a fundamentally new approach to biology; others as the next stage of biotechnology; and others as simply an exercise in rebranding. As social scientists researching this field, we’ve seen the confusion of synthetic biologists as to why a treaty about biodiversity is attempting to govern their research.

The reason lies in the broad mandate of the UN’s convention on biological diversity (CBD). One of the largest international environmental agreements, the CBD’s three objectives include conservation of biodiversity; sustainable use of biodiversity; and the fair and equitable sharing of benefits from genetic resources of biodiversity.

Continue reading full article on The Guardian...

Image via Pixabay

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of biotechnology and public policy issues. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to: http://www.copyright.gov/title17/92chap1.html#107. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.


home | overview | blog | publications| about us | donate | newsletter | press room | privacy policy

CGS • 1122 University Ave, Suite 100, Berkeley, CA 94702 • • (p) 1.510.665.7760 • (F) 1.510.665.8760