Synthetic Biology emerged in the USA around the beginning of the 21st century. Support for the first version of iGEM, the "International Competitive Student Design of Synthetic Biological Finite State Machines" was awarded in 2003 to bio-, computer- and electrical engineers Drew Endy, Gerald Sussman, and Tom Knight at MIT. It marks an important milestone in what would become a thriving discipline at the intersection of engineering and the biological and physical sciences aimed at applying engineering design principles to understand and harness thehidden potential of biology for making useful products in a sustainable manner. What spawned the field of Synthetic Biology remains debatable; but, it became clear early on that for Synthetic Biology to meet expectations, a convergence of science and engineering disciplines would be essential.



Sixth Newsletter is online

ERASynBio has come to an end, but every end is just a new beginning and the good news is most partners will continue developing European synthetic biology through a self-sustainable initiative. A look into the future of ERASynBio is provided by Dr. Marion Karrasch-Bott, who will succeed Dr. Kremser in coordinating the self-sustainable initiative. The initiative will build on the successes of ERASynBio, a snapshot of which this newsletter will also give you. In addition the most notable events and summer schools of 2015 are also summarized.



Judging synthetic biology risks

Last month, the European Commission (EC) Scientific Committees issued a draft opinion on whether existing risk assessment methods are adequate for synthetic biology. This opinion, which was written by a Working Group of 20 experts from Europe and the United States,* could have a substantial impact on shaping European and global synthetic biology policy for years to come. It is open for public comment through 3 February 2015.

All interested parties are invited to submit written comments on the preliminary opinion by 03 February 2015 in view of gathering specific comments, suggestions, explanations or contributions on the scientific basis of the opinion, as well as any other scientific information regarding the questions addressed, to enable Scientific Committees to focus on issues that need to be further investigated.

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