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  4. Reflecting change: public participation and the application of old regulation to a new technology




Reflecting change: public participation and the application of old regulation to a new technology




Speaker: Olivia Hamlyn, Phd candidate,UCL

Synthetic biology is a complex emerging technology. As with many new technologies, it promises revolutionary, life-enhancing benefits. But like many new technologies, those promises are accompanied by the spectre of significant, potentially negative, impacts; social, economic and ethical as well as environmental and health-related. While the EU commits in principle to considering the social, economic and ethical in its regulatory decision-making, it typically fails in practice, emphasising instead risks to health and the environment. Using the EU’s regulation of synthetic biology as a case study and taking public participation as one medium through which concerns over the social, economic and ethical may find their way into decision-making, I explore the difference between the EU’s policy and practice.

While, in its techniques, synthetic biology is similar to traditional genetic modification, in its open and inclusive ethos it is very different. Much of the regime regulating genetic modification applies to synthetic biology. I assess how far this regime is able to reflect and promote this open and inclusive ethos, focusing in particular on the opportunities it provides for public participation in decision-making. Drawing on ideas of “inherited regulation”, I argue that the application of a regime designed for another technology, to synthetic biology makes capturing the nuances of the latter technology problematic, with implications for considering a wider range of concerns, beyond safety, in decision-making.

Convocation Suite, Centenary Building, City University London.

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When and where

1.00pm - 3.00pmWednesday 4th November 2015

Convocation Suite Centenary Building City, University of London Spencer Street London EC1V 0HB United Kingdom

Contact Details

Dr Enrico Bonadio

Senior Lecturer in Law

City, University of London
Northampton Square
United Kingdom
020 7040 8263

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