Part of: Prelims and GS-III Science and technology
Context: The 70-page ‘compilation’ document was recently released by the central government.
- The government is working on a national policy on synthetic biology which is an emerging science that deals with engineering life forms for a wide range of applications from making designer medicines to foods.
- The document lays out the state of synthetic biology internationally with respect to research and development and the involvement of the private sector, globally, in dealing with synthetic biology.
- As part of the 12th Five-Year Plan, India had set up a task force on systems biology and synthetic biology research in 2011.
- This body underlined the potential benefits from synthetic biotechnology in biofuels, bioremediation, biosensors, food and health.
- It also strongly recommended for this technology.
- However, Parliament is yet to clear the Biotechnology Regulatory Authority of India Bill, 2013, that could have included framework for synthetic biology.
- Synthetic biology refers to the science of using genetic sequencing, editing, and modification to create unnatural organisms or organic molecules that can function in living systems.
- It enables scientists to design and synthesise new sequences of DNA from scratch.
- It is also seen as one of the top 10 breakthrough technologies as part of the “new industrial revolution” that are “most likely to change the world”.
- Regulation of both the benefits and risks is important.
- The current laws and regulations framework often fail to fully adapt to the evolving possibilities of synthetic biology.
- Instances of application: use of gene editing systems such as CRISPR that allow defective genes in animals, plants and even people to be silenced, or changed, and control biological outcomes.
News Source: TH