Synthetic Biology Sparks Fear of Human Annihilation

Posted on Thursday, 20th June 2019 @ 08:54 PM by Text Size A | A | A

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A recent TED Talk by Rob Reid highlighted the threat of synthetic biology wiping out the human race.

Reid ends by saying that the benefits of synthetic biology outweigh its potential negative impacts.

During a 2014 MIT conference on synthetic biology, FBI agent Carmine Nigro warned that synbio tech could “…reduce our population by significant percentages”.

Synthetic biology, according to a 2005 European Commission paper is “…the engineering of biology… the synthesis of complex, biologically based (or inspired) systems which display functions that do not exist in nature.”

Geneticist Craig Venter is a pioneer in the field of synthetic biology. In 2010 the media hailed his team’s success in creating “the first self-replicating species we’ve had on the planet whose parent is a computer.”

Synthetic foods are also being created with the technology. As of 2014, Synbio food ingredients have quietly made their way on to store shelves. Companies like Evolva that are pushing the technology suggest that the products are “not genetically modified”.

New gene editing tech has also sparked a biological arms race.

Fears of an engineered virus released on the planet have grown as the technology advances.

The idea that a rogue group or individual could release an engineered biological weapon is not out of the realm of possibility.

Past examples

Nobel prize winning microbiologist Sir Macfarlane Burnet secretly urged the Australian government in 1947 to develop bio weapons for use against the “overpopulated countries of South-East Asia.”

In a 1947 meeting with the New Weapons and Equipment Development Committee, the group recommended that “the possibilities of an attack on the food supplies of S-E Asia and Indonesia using B.W. agents should be considered by a small study group.”

Dr. Wouter Basson’s secret bioweapons project in the 1980s is another example.

Operating in South Africa, the goal of the project was to develop biological and chemical agents that would either kill or sterilize the black population and assassinate political enemies. Among the agents developed were Marburg and Ebola viruses.

According to a 2001 article in The New Yorker magazine, the American Embassy in Pretoria was “terribly concerned” that Basson would reveal deep connections between Project Coast and the United States.

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