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In this Future Tech podcast, Genome Editing, we visit with Eleonore Pauwels, the Director of the Anticipatory Intelligence Lab with the Science and Technology Program at the Woodrow Wilson Scholar Institute in Washington, D.C. Pauwels delves deep into “the democratization of genomics and biology”, the goal of which is for people to have 24/7 control of their health and even environment—imagine being able to determine that the restaurant food that you’re about to eat is contaminated with salmonella. She also explains how such a decentralization will allow someone with a certain type of leukemia, for example, to monitor their cancer levels every 1-2 weeks from their home–convenient for someone living far from their doctor or with mobility issues. She goes on to disclose the various factors preventing this application from being widely available yet (even though the technology exists) before ending with several questions that will have you looking forward to the future. (Dive in further here.)

Public Understanding of Synthetic Biology

The objective of this article is not to draw exhaustive conclusions about public perceptions of synthetic biology but to provide readers with an integrated review of the findings from 4 years of quantitative and qualitative research conducted on this subject in the United States. US public perceptions toward synthetic biology are ambivalent. Members of the public show enthusiasm for synthetic biology applications when those applications are developed to address societal, medical, and sustainability needs, whereas engineering biology is seen as a potential concern if this research is done without investigations of its potential risks and long-term implications. Members of the public also support funding for research that leads to applications that actually meet social and sustainability goals. When it comes to oversight, their priorities are to promote transparency and accountability and to ensure a form of tailored governance in which diverse knowledge sources help address the uncertainty surrounding new technologies. (Read more)

Review of quantitative and qualitative studies on U.S. public perceptions of synthetic biology

How are public perceptions towards synthetic biology likely to evolve? Which factors will impact the framing of this emerging technology, its benefits and risks? The objective of this article is not to draw exhaustive conclusions about public perceptions of synthetic biology, but rather to provide readers with a review of integrated findings from the first quantitative and qualitative research ever conducted on this subject in the United States.  (Read More)