- Philipp Böing
- United Kingdom
Founder: Darwin Toolbox, SynBioSoc / UCL iGEM organizer, University College London
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How can we have a good "science and society" debate on using Synthetic Biology for Geoengineering?
Dear TED community,
We're a group of students looking for good ideas for a Synthetic Biology / Geoengineering Debate for an event at iGEM (international genetically engineered machine competition), and we thought: whose minds are better to tap into than yours!
The iGEM competition allows teams of students to create novel synthetic biology projects. ( more: http://www.igem.org )
The Dutch Rathenau Institute has called teams to submit proposals for a "Science and Society" synthetic biology debate and we think an interesting question would be around the topic of "Using Synthetic Biology for Geoengineering".
(call for debate proposals: http://2012.igem.org/wiki/images/e/ec/Regional_Europe_Meeting_of_Young_Minds_2012.pdf )
For example, in our own project, we will be working on a bacterial system that could be used to collect and recycle micro plastic waste in the ocean. This is of course potentially very powerful and very controversial.
We would really like to hear your thoughts and opinions on this question. What do you think are the major issues in using genetic engineering / synthetic biology to tackle problems such as pollution, climate change, etc.? Do you have links to interesting materials about this? What are the questions we aren't asking but should be asking?
Thanks a lot,
Philipp on behalf of UCL iGEM