NGOs highlight synthetic biology concerns at CBD side event
THIRD WORLD NETWORK BIOSAFETY INFORMATION SERVICE
Kuala Lumpur, 2 May (TWN) – A standing room only side event at a recent United Nations intergovernmental biodiversity meeting highlighted recent developments in synthetic biology and its implications.
On Monday 25 April, a panel of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) spoke at the side event for government delegates to the Convention on Biological Diversity's Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical, and Technological Advice (SBSTTA), meeting in Montreal. The panel featured representatives from Third World Network, ECOROPA, the Federation of German Scientists, and the ETC Group. The event was very well attended, with some delegates unfortunately unable to fit in the conference room due to space constraints.
Introduced by moderator Lili Fuhr of the Heinrich Boell Foundation, Jim Thomas of the ETC Group was the first speaker. Thomas provided an overview of recent developments in synthetic biology, highlighting how some companies are moving toward use of “methanogens” to produce their products, referring to synthetically modified bacteria that feed on methane. A shift away from sugar as synthetic biology's preferred feedstock for industrial fermentation meant that relationships were building between synthetic biology and fracking companies, Thomas said.