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A life scientist, an engineer and a social scientist walk into a lab: challenges of dual-use engagement and education in synthetic biology


Reference:

Edwards, B. and Kelle, A., 2012. A life scientist, an engineer and a social scientist walk into a lab: challenges of dual-use engagement and education in synthetic biology. Medicine, Conflict & Survival, 28 (1), pp. 5-18.

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Official URL:

http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13623699.2012.658659

Abstract

The discussion of dual-use education is often predicated on a discrete population of practicing life scientists exhibiting certain deficiencies in awareness or expertise. This has lead to the claim that there is a greater requirement for awareness raising and education amongst this population. However, there is yet to be an inquiry into the impact of the ‘convergent’ nature of emerging techno-sciences upon the prospects of dual-use education. The field of synthetic biology, although often portrayed as homogeneous, is in fact composed of various sub-fields and communities. Its practitioners have diverse academic backgrounds. The research institutions that have fostered its development in the UK often have their own sets of norms and practices in engagement with ethical, legal and social issues associated with scientific knowledge and technologies. The area is also complicated by the emergence of synthetic biologists outside traditional research environments, the so called ‘do-ityourself’ or ‘garage biologists’. This paper untangles some of the complexities in the current state of synthetic biology and addresses the prospects for dual-use education for practitioners. It provides a short overview of the field and discusses identified dual-use issues. There follows a discussion of UK networks in synthetic biology, including their engagement with ethical, legal, social and dual-use issues and limited educational efforts in relation to these. It concludes by outlining options for developing a more systematic dual-use education strategy for synthetic biology.

Details

Item Type Articles
CreatorsEdwards, B.and Kelle, A.
DOI10.1080/13623699.2012.658659
DepartmentsFaculty of Humanities & Social Sciences > Politics Languages and International Studies
RefereedYes
StatusPublished
ID Code29210

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  • A life scientist, an engineer and a social scientist walk into a lab: challenges of dual-use engagement and education in synthetic biology. (deposited 22 Mar 2012 14:33)[Currently Displayed]

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