Open Source Biology

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From Humanitarian-FOSS Project Development Site

Synthetic Biology?

Synthetic biology is a collaboration of all scientific fields and engineering in order to synthesize new biological systems and functions. Synthetic biology is vastly used by scientists in order to test their hypotheses by providing them with the ability to create physical models to observe outcomes. For instance in genetics, synthetic biology is used to create models of DNA that can be inserted into cells in order to test their influence and prove or disprove their hypotheses. This field is very important because, its main goals are to produce systems that can be used to aid in health research, the environment, food production and to produce materials. Synthetic biology assists with scientific research allowing it to enter the frontiers that it was unable to do without this field; to test and observe functions and to compile an understanding of the biological world that would facilitate the uncovering of diseases that are perilous to the human and other organisms’ existence.

Open Biology and Open Source Licensing

Synthetic biology depends on contributions from different fields and its ability to utilize other fields’ discoveries in order to generate new technology or new biological functions. This is an almost impossible feat if every discovery is patented, slowing down the progression of synthetic biology and our progression of discoveries and medical advances. Therefore, open source licensing would indefinitely aid and support this field, easing its progression and speeding up the time that it would take to begin research within the field because the road blocks that tend to slow down progression would cease to exist. However, this does bring forth some concerns and challenges. For instance the synthetic biological productions that can be used to produce cures can also be used to create new and harmful means of terrorizing people. If biological information would be open source then terrorist who seek scientific domains which would have full and easy access to information that can aid them in their planning of terrorist attacks. Therefore, making biological information open source does not protect the information from being used in malicious forms and not only by terrorists but by students and kids who discover this information. Within the present world where a lot of fear is spread and all information is monitored creating open source licensing would be difficult and would more likely not succeed unless it is restricted and allowed for use only by the scientific community. However, while I believe that this idea would fail in the present society, in the future open source licensing can succeed because ultimately the benefits out weight the perils.

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