Policy making on “Synthetic Biology”

Policy making on “Synthetic Biology”

Recently, the central government is considering policy formulation on “Synthetic Biology”.

  • The Department of Biotechnology has prepared a draft in the form of Vision Paper on Synthetic Biology. The letter stresses the need for a national policy that will strengthen India’s stand on the issue.
  • Synthetic biology refers to the design, re-design and construction of biological components and systems that do not already exist in nature.

The potential applications of synthetic biology are in the following areas:

Bioremediation (Bioremediation), Biosensor and Health (Biosensor-based treatment, modified bacteria to target specific pathogens, etc.), Food fortification, etc.

Concerns associated with the use of synthetic biology:

  • Biosafety: Can cause problems such as allergies, antibiotic resistance, carcinogenic factors and toxicity in humans.
  • Biosecurity: refers to the improper or malicious use of potentially dangerous biological agents or biotechnology to develop biological weapons. Ethical concerns regarding human eugenics, etc. Eugenics refers to the selection of desired genetic characteristics to improve the future generations.

Status of Regulation in India:

  • Parliament has not yet approved the Biotechnology Regulatory Authority of India Bill, 2013. This includes provisions for regulating research in the field of genetic engineering. This may also include synthetic biology.
  • Regulations have been made on genetically modified (GM) food crops.
  • Earlier, a Task Force on Research on Systems Biology and Synthetic Biology was constituted in the year 2011 under the 12th Five Year Plan.

Source – The Hindu

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