Synthetic Biology I

August 20, 2010

Synthetic biology—a rapidly emerging technology.

Audio Transcript

Ms. Ballew: Synthetic biology—a rapidly emerging technology.

Mr. You: “Synthetic biology is just an advance on regular molecular biology/biochemistry. Developing systems and conferring on bacteria or yeast, novel functions, things that are not normally seen in nature.”

Ms. Ballew: Supervisory Special Agent Edward You, from the Biological Countermeasures Unit of the FBI’s WMD Directorate.

Mr. You: “It now makes it easier to manipulate these substances and organisms that are occurring in the environment.”

Ms. Ballew: As a result of technologies becoming less expensive and more powerful…

Mr. You: “You’re having the barrier of entry to do something mischievous, or actually outright nefarious, getting lower, so individuals or groups will be able to conduct potential harm more so than before.”

Ms. Ballew: The FBI is a forum for exchanging information.

Mr. You: “Industry, academia, and this growing amateur community of biologists, to provide them the education of some of the risks that are involved with the work, potential safety issues to themselves and to others.”

Ms. Ballew: I ’m Denise Ballew of the Bureau and that’s what’s happening at the “FBI, This Week.”

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