TED Conversations

Philipp Böing

Founder: Darwin Toolbox, SynBioSoc / UCL iGEM organizer, University College London

TEDCRED 200+

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Should Synthetic Organisms be released to clean plastic pollution from the ocean?

The Problem: Microplastic pollution in the ocean.
Proposed Solution: Engineered Organisms that can collect the pollution into recyclable pieces. (the science behind this: http://www.ucl.ac.uk/igem2012 )
A video explanation: http://youtu.be/rEDLg03teOk

Should Synthetic Organisms be released to clean plastic pollution from the ocean? Is synthetic biology the only solution to plastic pollution? Can we anticipate and prevent any negative repercussions? Do the potential risks outweigh the benefits? Who could profit from this? Who calls the shots?

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    Jul 13 2012: Only if you know all 100% of the consequences. So, knowing, not guessing!
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      Jul 13 2012: That would be nice but is not going to happen. With every new technology there is always some kind of uncertainty (who thought of Chlorofluorocarbon or the housing bubble). Today in SynBio uncertainty is very big but it will get smaller.The question is if that is enough.
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        Jul 13 2012: Sebatsian, exactly!

        And for the risk of this magnitude I would not choose this technology for the described problem.

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