Obama Orders Review of Synthetic Biology

Jeff tries to explain how government works to readers of Science.

President Obama has asked his bioethics commission to study the implications of research published today in Science describing the creation of a synthetic genome.

In a letter today, Obama calls on the commission to do a 6-month study on the "potential medical, environmental, security, and other benefits of this field of research, as well as any potential health, security or other risks." He also requests that the panel, led by University of Pennsylvania President Amy Gutmann, recommend "any actions the Federal government should take to ensure that America reaps the benefits of this developing field of science while identifying appropriate ethical boundaries and minimizing identified risks."

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