Synthetic biology: 'playing God' is vital if we are to create a better future for all | Adam Rutherford

Friday, July 27, 2012 - 16:00 in Psychology & Sociology

The present gains and future benefits of synthetic biology are too great for it to be written off with fear-mongering maxims"Playing God since 1660" reads the motto on the Royal Society's sign in a scene from The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists, the latest film from the makers of Wallace and Gromit. And now I can no longer enter the doors of our national science academy without quoting the Pirate Captain's rallying cry, "Prepare to be boarded, nerds!".Earlier this year I presented a BBC2 Horizon programme on synthetic biology. Our choice of title, Playing God, was not intended as a criticism of synthetic biologists, but rather to highlight an allegation they often face. Environmentalists, religious figures and sections of the media regularly use the phrase as a handy stick with which to beat those in the field. Scientists, they claim, are foolishly meddling in matters that should be left...

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