Can humans control the future evolution of our species? Based on current knowledge in genetics, one can infer and extrapolate what may happen in the near future. After all, if we are to predict the future, we must first understand the foundations of our present.
It is clear that the term synthetic biology raises expectations, but it is no less true that it also causes concern. This article starts with a critique of the identification of cells as machines and discusses the current scope of synthetic biology and efforts to standardise it. We also outline some of the social implications of attempts to manufacture life.
Biotechnological research has made significant progress; however, some of its results are controversial because of their health and environmental risks, and these limit their application because of the precautionary measures applied to them.
The latest biotechnology applications allow for faster and cheaper gene editing than ever before. Many people are calling for a public debate on these issues, including the social, cultural and ethical implications of these applications.
The communication of biotechnology has played a key role in recent years. The great advances made and the speed with which new genetic editing techniques are implemented raise enormous expectations but also concerns.