Debate photo 1

“Should we synthesise human genomes?” – a few photos

In June, I chaired an event co-organised by the Synthetic Biology CDT and Oxfordshire Science Festival. Four distinguished panellists discussed the ethical and scientific dilemma, “Should we synthesise human genomes?”

It was the hottest day of the year but everyone stayed awake and, aided by an excellent discussion with the audience, the panellists each crafted a fascinating argument. The motion was passed – but not without caveats!

“Should we synthesise human Genomes?” – Debate at the Oxfordshire Science Festival

I’ll be chairing an exciting panel discussion this month at the Oxfordshire Science Festival. Join us to discuss the ethics of genome synthesis and hear the opinions of some of the leading figures in Synthetic Biology. The debate is on Tuesday 20th June at 6pm in the Oxford Town Hall. See below for tickets!

Marianne Talbot is a bioethicist and Director of Studies in Philosophy at the University of Oxford Department for Continuing Education.

Piers Millett is a Senior Research Fellow at the Future of Humanity Institute, where he focuses on pandemic and deliberate disease and the implications of biotechnology.

Justina Robson is a science fiction author. Her novel Natural History, was reviewed by The Guardian: “clarity of vision now demonstrates itself as her major asset, making her one of thevery best of the new British hard SF writers.”

Robert Smith is a sociologist of science and technology. His work explores the social and ethical dimensions of the biosciences, primarily in relation to science policy, research funding and laboratory science.

You can find tickets at

Synthetic biology and the human brain

I have been working on a four-part series of articles exploring how the convergence of modern synthetic biology, biological computing, traditional computing and neuroscience will transform the way we understand consciousness and learning. The first of these articles, coauthored with British Computing Society fellow Charles Ross, was just published in the BCS journal ITNOW. The third article will focus on synthetic biology and DNA computing in particular.

PDF here.