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May 30, 2012

GEN Poll Respondents Bullish on Synthetic Bio’s Potential for Solving Health, Environmental Problems

  • GEN readers are bullish on the future of synthetic biology, judging from results of a just-completed poll. More than half (59.5%) the respondents said they thought synthetic biology has the ability to offer solutions for problems related to health and the environment. However, equal percentages of respondents (19%) either did not think so or expressed openness to the possibility by voting “maybe.” The remaining 2.4% were undecided.

    In GEN’s May 15 issue, authors of the Point of View article state that the “science behind synthetic biology rests on questionable theory. In addition, the undeniable power of the technology to alter living systems also contains potential for harm.” However, others believe that advancements made over the last decade are signaling the beginning of a new era, one that provides a new level of scientific inquiry and promises to reshape medicine, biomedical research, and biotechnology.

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Scientifically Studying Ecstasy

MDMA (commonly known as the empathogen “ecstasy”) is classified as a Schedule 1 drug, which is reserved for compounds with no accepted medical use and a high abuse potential. Two researchers from Stanford, however, call for a rigorous scientific exploration of MDMA's effects to identify precisely how the drug works, the data from which could be used to develop therapeutic compounds.

Do you agree that ecstasy should be studied for its potential therapeutic benefits?

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