Hastings Center Talk to Focus on Synthetic Biology

Greg Kaebnick (Photo courtesy of The Hastings Center)

What is synthetic biology? Where might it lead? What ethical questions does it raise? A public talk at The Hastings Center on Tuesday, Nov. 16, 2010, will discuss these and other questions. The Hastings Center has been leading an interdisciplinary research project on synthetic biology for the last two years. 
       Gregory Kaebnick, editor of the Hastings Center Report and an investigator on the project, will share some of the findings. People who work in synthetic biology sometimes describe it as “the next industrial revolution” and “genetic engineering on steroids.” Synthetic biology emerged from obscurity earlier this year and became a topic of international debate when the J. Craig Venter Institute announced the creation of what it described as the first self-replicating synthetic cell. Soon after, President Barack Obama directed his new Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues to take on synthetic biology as its first topic. Dr. Kaebnick spoke at the presidential commission’s first meeting and testified before Congress on synthetic biology.
       The Hastings Center is the first bioethics research institution, founded in 1969. Nonprofit and nonpartisan, it is a pioneer in collaborative interdisciplinary research and dialogue on the ethical and social impact of advances in medicine, health care, and the life sciences. Its work informs professional practice, public conversation, and social policy. More information about The Hastings Center is available at http://www.thehastingscenter.org/. The lecture, which begins at 5 pm, is free and open to the public. For reservations, contact Siofra Vizzi at VizziS@thehastingscenter.org or (845) 424 4040 ext. 202. A reception will follow the presentation at 6 pm. The Hastings Center is located at 21 Malcolm Gordon Rd., off of Route 9D in Garrison between St. Basil Academy and Philipstown Park.