Right now a symposium titled “Synthetic Biology for the Next Generation” is being run jointly by The National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering – in New York City. Participants in this conference will examine the tools, platforms, and infrastructure needed for continued advances in synthetic biology; political and social strategies to pursue these advances; and research applications in key areas.
You can watch the live stream of the symposium right now here. (EDIT: the conference is now over but the videos are available from where the stream was). You can also follow the symposium via the twitter hashtag #synbioLEAP. The symposium will progress throughout today and tomorrow (June 12/13) and is the last of a three part series of symposiums. This conference takes a very realist, applied and advanced approach to the issues of synthetic biology.
“Creating Synthetic Life” is a documentary which premiered on the Science Channel in 2010. It follows the story of Craig Venter and his team in creating Synthia (or Mycoplasma laboratorium), an organism which has been declared by some to be “the first synthetic organism”. The documentary has a few flaws, something not unexpected given its very general target audience. Nonetheless it has a very high production quality and is definitely worth watching. You can purchase the DVD of the program here, or you can watch a version which has been uploaded to youtube below.
Juan Enriquez is a well respected futurist – who specifically looks at biotechnology and its role in the future. He is the founding director of the Life Sciences Project at Harvard Business School, CEO of Biotechnomy LCC, and the writer of numerous influential articles. Over the past decade he has given four TED talks, covering different visions of the future. After the break you can find each of his talks – including his latest talk from TED (posted yesterday): “Will our kids be a different species?”. These are definitely mandatory viewing for anyone interested in the future.
Drew Endy is an important figure in the world of synthetic biology, being one of the first influential pioneers in the field. In the short informal video below he gives a excellent concise description of what synthetic biology is in his opinion. Check it out after the break.
Rayfish Footware is a brand new company, which claims to be able to sell genetically modified (biocustomised) stingray leather shoes to consumers. Their claims are fantastical and to some extent fairly ridiculous. While the company released a full press release last month which has been reported as fact by many news sources, this is very likely a hoax – having a number of tell tale signs.
Find out why it is a hoax and watch a video by the CEO of Rayfish Footware explaining his company after the break.