December 14, 2012

Workshop on Data Needs and Testing Methods for Assessing the Field Release of Synthetically Designed Algae

This December 2012 workshop sought to determine the data needs and testing methods for the environmental release of synthetically designed algae and to assess the ecological effects and risks of synthetic organisms. It focused on flagging sources of uncertainty and evaluating methods of testing fitness, genetic stability and lateral gene transfer.

The workshop was co-sponsored by the EPA’s Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics, the Woodrow Wilson Center's Synthetic Biology Project and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Synthetic Biology Engineering Research Center (SynBERC). This workshop is part of a larger Woodrow Wilson Center/MIT(SynBERC) endeavor to prototype risk assessment methods for their utility in identifying early‐stage hazards and research directions for synthetic biology applications.

Previous workshops examined the environmental effects of an E.coli-based arsenic biosensor, a cyanobacteria modified to produce sugars and a rE.coli chassis (modified genetic code chassis).

The workshop report can be found here.