Public Looks at Synthetic Biology -- Cautiously
Synthetic biology -- defined as the design and construction of new biological parts, devices, and systems or re-design of existing natural biological systems for useful purposes -- holds enormous potential to improve everything from energy production to medicine, with the global market projected to reach $4.5 billion by 2015. But what does the public know about this emerging field, and what are their hopes and concerns?
A new poll of 1,000 U.S. adults conducted by Hart Research Associates and the Synthetic Biology Project at the Woodrow Wilson Center finds that two-thirds of Americans think that synthetic biology should move forward, but with more research to study its possible effects on humans and the environment, while one-third support a ban until we better understand its implications and risks. More than half of Americans believe the federal government should be involved in regulating synthetic biology.