ETHICSCHOOL
Balancing Freedom and Biosecurity remains challenging

Around 50 people attended the panel session on ‘freedom and security in an age of synthetic biology: challenges, concerns, needs’, chaired by Christopher Coenen, during the conference “Synthetic Biology – Visions of the Future” at NEMO, Amsterdam on 24 June 2016. The panellists presented a wide range of perspectives, including law enforcement, civil society, biology, social science, and industry from both sides of the Atlantic. Ineke Malsch contributed her experience as a volunteer with Pax Christi International since 2001. While several panellists agreed on the need for more oversight and a nuanced balance between freedom and security, adapted to the ever-changing geopolitical circumstances and technological developments, the discussion with the audience revealed deep-rooted differences of opinion on handling of specific cases of Gain of Function research, gene-drives and other recent developments. This calls for a continuation and broadening of this dialogue, to include political and ethical as well as technical and legal aspects. Info: www.synenergene.eu

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