A priority paper for the societal and ethical aspects of synthetic biology

Markus Schmidt, Agomoni Ganguli Mitra, Helge Torgersen, Alexander Kelle, Anna Deplazes, Nikola Biller-Andorno

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


As synthetic biology develops into a promising science and engineering field, we need to have clear ideas and priorities regarding its safety, security, ethical and public dialogue implications. Based on an extensive literature search, interviews with scientists, social scientists, a 4 week long public e-forum, and consultation with several stakeholders from science, industry and civil society organisations, we compiled a list of priority topics regarding societal issues of synthetic biology for the years ahead. The points presented here are intended to encourage all stakeholders to engage in the prioritisation of these issues and to participate in a continuous dialogue, with the ultimate goal of providing a basis for a multi-stakeholder governance in synthetic biology. Here we show possible ways to solve the challenges to synthetic biology in the field of safety, security, ethics and the science–public interface.
Original languageEnglish
Article number3-7
JournalSystems and Synthetic Biology
Issue number1-4
Publication statusPublished - 2009


  • Synthetic biology
  • Governance
  • Biosafety
  • Biosecurity
  • Ethics
  • Science
  • Society


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