ARC Centre of Excellence in Synthetic Biology

Synthetic Biology

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11, Jun 2024

Fab Gab Podcast Explores Feminist Bioethics in Synthetic Biology

In an insightful episode of the Fab Gab podcast, Chief Investigator, Distinguished Professor Wendy Rogers of Macquarie University, discusses her groundbreaking work on the ethical dimensions of synthetic biology.

The episode elaborates on her paper in the International Journal for the Feminist Association of Bioethics, with co-author and Associate Investigator Dr Jacqueline Dalziel, highlighting the potential and pitfalls of synthetic biology through a feminist bioethics lens.

Distinguished Professor Rogers provides a comprehensive overview of synthetic biology and its ability to create precise genetic modifications, potentially revolutionising drug production and environmental remediation. Despite its promise, Professor Rogers critiques the field for its failure to deliver on grand promises, as illustrated by the Semi-synthetic Artemisinin project which, despite significant scientific advances, did not achieve its goal of affordable malaria treatment.

The conversation also explores the ethical challenges faced by researchers, caught between their humanitarian goals and the commercial interests that often drive their projects. This discrepancy frequently results in market-driven innovations, such as improved flavours for consumer goods, rather than addressing pressing global issues. She also flags the precarious nature of research funding, with post-doctoral researchers being forces to operate on short-term contracts that sometimes skew their research agenda. For more details, listen here and read the full paper here.