Friends of the Earth calls for moratorium on synthetic bio-based biofuels

October 4, 2010 |

In Washington, Friends of the Earth released a report “Synthetic Solutions to the Climate Crisis: The Dangers of Synthetic Biology for Biofuels Production,” concluding that synthetic biology projects including the creation of algae with synthetic DNA to produce fuels or synthetic yeast to break down biomass could have potentially devastating results if these organisms were released into the environment.

The FOE report can be downloaded here.

The Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) denounced the report. Brent Erickson, executive vice president of BIO’s Industrial & Environmental Section, stated, “Biotechnology research and development has produced hundreds of vaccines and medical therapies that save and extend the lives of patients suffering from debilitating diseases, crop traits that enable increased food production with less environmental impact, and tools for environmental remediation of toxic chemicals. Sustainable economic growth, generating new jobs and reducing reliance on foreign oil should be among the top priorities of Congress. Biofuels and other biobased products can make vital contributions to those goals. Yet, opponents of biotechnology have now called for a moratorium on scientific innovation, threatening our industry’s ability to spur job growth and maintain our nation’s global leadership in biotechnological innovation. We hope that Congress and the general public are not misled by claims that do not follow established science-based regulatory principles.”

Download BIO’s assessment of algal opportunities.

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Category: Research

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