from Center for Preventive Action

Mitigating the Risks of Synthetic Biology

February 09, 2015

Report

Overview

Synthetic biology is a relatively new field that aims to make biology easier to engineer and more amenable to rational design. As the field expands, synthetic biology may become a pervasive industrial technology, replacing chemistry in applications as diverse as mining, environmental remediation, and the manufacture and production of common household goods and foods. However, synthetic biology may also be misused, and the advent of this technology has national security implications.

Gigi K. Gronvall

Senior Associate, Center for Health Security, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center

Gigi Kwik Gronvall, senior associate at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) Center for Health Security and associate professor of medicine and public health at the University of Pittsburgh, discusses the possibility of biological accidents and the development and use of biological weapons in this new CFR Discussion Paper. She offers recommendations that address both domestic and international security concerns, highlighting ways to improve existing policies and build oversight for the use of synthetic biology.

More on:

Biotechnology

Health

This publication is sponsored by the Center for Preventive Action (CPA) and is made possible by the generous support of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund. CPA seeks to help prevent, defuse, or resolve deadly conflicts around the world and to expand the body of knowledge on conflict prevention.

More on:

Biotechnology

Health

Top Stories on CFR

Women and Economic Growth

Closing the gender gap in the workforce could add a staggering $28 trillion to the global GDP.

Cybersecurity

Deep fakes are a profoundly serious problem for democratic governments and the world order. A combination of technology, education, and public policy can reduce their effectiveness.

Saudi Arabia

Unless the Saudi government speaks and acts quickly and honestly about the disappearance and reported killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, its own reputation will incur irreparable damage.