World Economic Forum Risk Report 2015

WEFThe 2015 Global Risks report by the World Economic Forum completes a decade of highlighting the most significant long-term risks worldwide, drawing on the perspectives of experts and global decision-makers. The 2015 report highlights emerging technologies as “Risks in Focus“, especially pointing out synthetic biology, gene drives and artificial biology.

The World Economic Forum Report includes also a debate about DIYBio and biosafety, citing 2 recent Biofaction publications on this matter:

Differences can already be observed in the focus of DIYbio groups in Europe and the United States due to the differing nature of regulations on genetically-modified organisms in their regions, with European enthusiasts focusing more on “bio-art”.8 The amateur synthetic biology community is very aware of safety issues and pursuing bottom-up options for self-regulation in various ways, such as developing voluntary codes of practice.9 However, self-regulation has been criticized as inadequate, including by a coalition of civil society groups campaigning for strong oversight mechanisms. Such mechanisms would need to account for the cross-border nature of the technology, and inherent uncertainty over its future direction.

8) Seyfried G, Pei L, Schmidt M. 2014. European Do-it-yourself (DIY) Biology: beyond the hope, hype and horror. BioEssays. Vol. 36(6)

9) Guan Z, Schmidt M, Pei L, Wei W, Ma K. (2013). Biosafety considerations of synthetic biology in the international Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM) competition. Bioscience. Vol. 63 (1):25-34