As part of the SYNBIOSAFE project, we carried out an open electronic conference (e-conference), with the aim to stimulate an open debate on the societal issues of synthetic biology in a proactive way. The e-conference attracted 124 registered participants from 23 different countries and different professional backgrounds, who wrote 182 contributions in six different categories: (I) Ethics; (II) Safety; (III) Security; (IV) IPR; (V) Governance and regulation; (VI) and Public perception. In this paper we discuss the main arguments brought up during the e-conference and provide our conclusions about how the community thinks, and thinks differently on the societal impact of synthetic biology. Finally we conclude that there is a chance for an open discourse on the societal issues of synthetic biology happening, and that the rules to govern such a discourse might be set up much easier and be respected more readily than many would suggest.
- Synthetic biology