Synthetic Biology’s Potential for Commercial Innovation Should Be Supported, BIO Argues

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WASHINGTON, D.C.(Sept. 1, 2011) – Research and development in synthetic biology is an evolution of biotechnology innovation that should be supported and encouraged by federal regulatory policies. The Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) today announced publication of the Policy Forum article Synthetic Biology: Regulating Industry Uses of New Biotechnologies in this week’s edition of Science magazine.

Brent Erickson, executive vice president of BIO’s Industrial & Environmental Section and an author of the paper, stated, “Synthetic biology holds the potential to significantly speed development of biotech solutions for clean energy and chemical production – in fact, there are several examples where it is doing so. Regulatory oversight of this emerging field should foster and promote innovation, establishing only as much regulation as is necessary to ensure public safety and benefits. Synthetic biology offers the United States the opportunity to establish a leadership position in a growing sector that can revitalize our traditional industries and at the same time stimulate economic growth.

“Synthetic biology is not something radically new, but is part of an ongoing evolution of biotech innovation that has safely and successfully produced public benefits for the past 40 years. At this early stage of development, the technology does not pose significant novel threats that are fundamentally different from those faced by the current biotechnology industry. The regulatory framework developed over the 40-year history of the biotechnology industry is generally applicable and relevant for the products of synthetic biology.”

The article, Synthetic Biology: Regulating Industry Uses of New Biotechnologies, is available on the Science web site at

For additional information about synthetic biology, please read BIO’s fact sheet “Current Uses of Synthetic Biology for Chemicals and Pharmaceuticals,” at

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About BIO
BIO is the world's largest trade association representing biotechnology companies, academic institutions, state biotechnology centers and related organizations across the United States and in more than 30 other nations. BIO members are involved in the research and development of innovative healthcare, agricultural, industrial and environmental biotechnology products. BIO also produces the BIO International Convention, the world’s largest gathering of the biotechnology industry, along with industry-leading investor and partnering meetings held around the world. BIOtechNOW is BIO's blog chronicling “innovations transforming our world” and the BIO Newsletter is the organization’s bi-weekly email newsletter. Subscribe to the BIO Newsletter.