India is taking its first steps to evolve a policy on synthetic biology

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  • India is taking its first steps to evolve a policy on synthetic biology.

  • Govt will convene group of experts on biodiversity and biotechnology, to assess synthetic biology work pursued in Indian labs, potential benefits and risks, and the implications of the trans-boundary movement of such life forms.

  • Synthetic biology in microbial systems holds promise for production of drugs, vaccines, fuel components and other chemicals.

  • A popular example is the production of artemisinin, a powerful anti-malarial drug, in yeast, at a commercial level. Microorganisms have also been constructed to act as sensors that can detect a toxin in vitro or in vivo (inside a living organism).

  • India, so far, has no policy on synthetic biology, and according to a presentation made at the venue, it has promised to “put in place a Synthetic Biology Team for articulating India’s view” at a forthcoming meeting.

What is synthetic biology?

  • Synthetic biology  is an emerging science through which new life forms can potentially be made in labs and existing life forms, such as bacteria and other microbes, tweaked to produce specific proteins or chemically useful products.
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