Civil society perspectives on synthetic biology
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Welcome to the SynBioWatch newsletter, with all the latest news and campaign updates from our website.

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The European Commission is about to decide whether or not a set of new genetic engineering techniques should be regulated as GM. Let them know why they should and why it matters to you by taking part in GM Freeze's online action.
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What is synthetic biology? Short film explains the basics - and why it's an issue worth campaiging on.
Watch it here

Not cheap and not plentiful: Hyped-up synthetic biology claims take another blow as malaria drug production plant shuts down

Synthetic biology is being heavily promoted and funded as a way to produce large quantities of cheap industrial products, including biofuels. But so far affordable, large-scale manufacture with synbio organisms has proven elusive. Synbio start-up companies that set out to produce high volumes of low-cost biofuels have switched to low volumes of expensive chemicals, cosmetics and food additives instead. Many are still struggling to stay afloat. Sanofi’s synthetic artemisinin, an anti-malaria drug, has been the latest casualty amongst commercial synbio ventures.
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‘Rogue scientists’ could exploit gene editing technology – or are they already?

An article in The Guardian (copied below) describes how a senior geneticist and a bioethicist is in agreement with a US security chief that gene-editing presents a serious risk to national security, equivalent to North Korea’s WMDs.
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Solazyme: Synthetic Biology Company Claimed to be Capable of Replacing Palm Oil Struggles to Stay Afloat

A Biofuelwatch investigation of a Californian company that has been at the forefront of genetically engineering algae. It set out to produce vast quantities of biofuels with them – but is only producing small quantities of algal oil, mainly for anti-wrinkle skin care instead.
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For a decade, six multinationals have controlled 75% of the world’s high-tech seeds and pesticides businesses. Late last year, Dow and DuPont agreed to merge and now state-owned ChemChina is buying Syngenta for $43 billion. This means that Monsanto needs a merger to stay in the game. Or, is the game about to be called?
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Beware False Promises: Algal Oils and Other Products of Synthetic Biology Aren’t About to Save the Orangutan... But Carry Serious New Risks

Joint briefing by Biofuelwatch and Friends of the Earth United States: “Algal oil” and “oily yeast” have been aggressively promoted as promising alternatives to palm oil and potential saviours of orangutans. At the forefront of this promotion is the California-based biotech company Solazyme.
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New Report: Biotech industry lobby intent on ransack of EU GMO rules

Corporate Europe Observatory: Food safety, the environment, and consumer choice are at stake, as biotech industry lobbyists pressure decision makers to deregulate a new generation of genetic engineering techniques ahead of a crucial European Commission decision in February.
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SynBioWatch 2016