Gushing Praise, Gushing Oil:  The Oil Industry-Synthetic Biology Connection

 

Last month, science- entrepreneur Craig Venter gushed praise for his company's creation of the world's first synthetic life form -- a bacterium, lab-concocted with a spanking new genome. It's alive. It self-replicates. But, how would it fare outside the lab? Would it give rise to "super bugs"? Irreparably damage an ecosystem? What about bioterrorism? Not to worry, Venter reassures.  Synthetic organisms can be bioengineered with safety features.

An inauspicious time for such an announcement, really - just while scientists working for British Petroleum scramble unsuccessfully to reverse a gushing gulf oil leak of BP's creation.  BP boasted safety features, too, then failed to appreciate risks, ignored troubling indicators.  It did not have an adequate technological solution for a total blow out.  No back up plan.  Inadequate regulations.  Conflicts of interest galore. 

Did you know that Venter has partnered with Exxon Mobil (think Exxon Valdez oil spill disaster) to develop synthetic algal biofuels?  Did you know that BP invested an undisclosed amount into Venter’s, Synthetic Genomics, Inc.?

Why mistrust BP but not Craig Venter companies? 


Click here: Learn just how under-regulated biotechnology is.

Click here: Learn about synthetic biology and why under-regulation is a bad idea.

Click here: for more on the Venter-Exxon partnership

Click here: for more on BP's investment in Venter's company